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' I 



p. ■' 

»• .. 


■ General Lee. 





\AIl right! ratrvid.l 



Power reveals the man. 

trviv ipiKoi 4pi\oi<n <rv/i$d\wa' fyiv. 

Euripides: Medea, 52(y-52h 

Terrible ia anger, and without remedy, 
When discord breaks out between friends. 







Author's Preface • • vii 

Translator's Preface ix 

Introductory i 


Origin of the Lee Family. — General Lee's Early Campaigns. — 

His Retirement from the Federal Army ... 20 


The Comparative Resources and Forces of the Northern 

AND Southern States 39 


Preliminary Movements. — Confederate Victory at Bull's 
Run 49 


MacClellan lands in the Peninsula of Virginia. — Battle 

of Seven Pines 68 


The Battle of the Chickahominy or Cold Harbour, 

June 27TH, 1862 87 

a 2 




MacClellan's Retreat 99 


August, ' 1862. — Pope advances into Virginia.— Jackson stops 
HIM AT Cedar Run. — Second Battle of Manassas.— Pope 
takes refuge under Washington 116 


September, 1862.— Lee's Entry into Maryland.— Capture of 

Harper's Ferry. — Battle of Sharpsburg . . . . .138 


Stuart's J^aid into Pennsylvania. — Burnside supersedes 
MacClellan. — Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13TH, 
1862 ............ 163 


Exasperation in the North. — General Hooker crosses the 
Rappahannock. — Battle of Chancellorsville, May, 1863. 
— Victory of the Confederates. — Death of Jackson . 196 


Lee's second entry into Maryla^nd. — Movements leading to 

THE Battle of Gettysburg 220 

« - 

Battle of Gettysburg, July 1ST-3RD, 1863. — Lee's Retreat. 

— Results of the Campaign 240 


Battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and Cold Har- 
bour. — Operations in the Valley.— Commencement of 
the Siege of Petersburg 263 





Reflections. — General Situation. — Conference of Hampton 
Roads. — Continuation of the Struggle. — Sufferings of 
THE Confederates 293 


Continuation of the Siege. — The last Combats. — Lee's 

Retreat.— His Capitulation 303 


Lee's last years at Lexington.— His Death, October i2Th, 

1870 325 

*^* With regard to most of the letters, quotations, and other extracts in the 
following pages, the translator has been able, through the kindness and 
courtesy of the author, to avail himself of the original English texts. In the 
few unimportant instances where a comparison with the original text was 
impossible, the passages have been retranslated from the French as literally as 
can be desired. 

« 3 


The following pages, written with all the impartiality possible, 
have, for their object, to make known in France one of the most 
remarkable personages of the New World — General Lee, com- 
mander-in-chief of the Southern armies in the great Civil War, 
which desolated the United States for four years, from April, 1861, 
to April, 1865. 

In our age there is a want of character. The one we are going 
to describe is like that of the ancients in its simplicity, true, full of 
humility, deeply Christian, and having for its only motive a 
sentiment of duty. In the midst of the general abasement of the 
moral level, in these times, when success excuses and consecrates 
everything, the greatness of General Lee's soul, lifting itself a 
hundredfold above those of his contemporaries, soothes and 
fortifies troubled consciences. 

The most prejudiced reader cannot but admire this life, entirely 
devoted to the idea of duty. Greater in adversity than in success, 
this man of worth struggled on to the end without despair, and 
yielded without a sacrifice of his honour. From the time of 
Hannibal, no captain has been seen to support a struggle more 
unequal, with forces more disproportionate, and having before 
him the prospect of a more gloomy future. 


All this period of four years recalls, by the magnitude of the 
means employed, the number of the combatants, and the im- 
portance of the interests at« stake, the most celebrated wars of 
antiquity. It forms a great epoch in histo^. The final interview 
between Lee and Grant involuntarily calls forth the recollection of 
that which took place between Hannibal • and Scipio, with this 
difference, that the latter preceded the battle instead of following 
it. Like Hannibal, seeking to induce his fellow-citizens to accept 
the hard conditions of the conqueror, Lee, in his retirement, 
after 1865, did all that depended on him, by words and example, 
to appease resentment, and re-establish harmony. "His cha- 
racter and life," says an English author, " afford a complete 
answer to the reproaches commonly cast on money- grabbing, 
mechanical America. A country which has given birth to men 
like him, and those who followed him, may look the chivalry of 
Europe in the face without shame, for the fatherlands of Sidney 
and of Bayard never produced a nobler soldier, gentleman, and 
Christian, than Robert E. Lee." 


The same motive which animated the author in writing a life of 
his uncle, has animated the translator in rendering that life into 
English. It is not well that the memory of a man like General 
Lee should fade away without the world being made acquainted 
with his character and virtues. 

This must be the translators plea to justify him in the course 
he has taken. He is well aware of the existence of more than 
one life of General Lee, compiled in English ; but they ^ere 
written by Americans, published in America, and, therefore, are 
more or less imbued with the American style and mode of feeling. 
So far, they are unsuitable to European taste. They are, besides, 
long, and somewhat tiresome in their description of battles, and 
in their general minuteness of details. 

The present work is of a different stamp : pohtical dissension, 
apart from a candid inquiry into the real causes of the Civil War, 
is, as much as possible, avoided, and there is a scrupulous desire 
evinced throughout to wound no one. The man's life and doings 
are presented in naked truthfulness ; the dignity and nobihty of 
his character are made fully apparent ; he stands before us as one 
of the world's heroes, whose fame should be not merely national. 


but cosmopolitan, yielding an undying example for all times and 

To the English) a life of General Lee should be peculiarly 
acceptable. He belonged to a State where the population is, in 
race and manners, more thoroughly English than in any other 
part of America, and where it is the pride of the people to keep to 
the customs and traditions bequeathed to them by their fathers. 
Without entering into a discussion as to whether the Virginians, 
and Lee among them, were right or wrong in the cause they 
espoused, leaving, in fact, each reader to his own opinion on the 
merits of the case, one cannot but admire the burning patriotism, 
the unflinching loyalty, the continual perseverance, the indomit- 
able Jfluck with which the Southerners, amid untold difliculties, 
bore the brunt of a struggle so unequal for the long space of four 
years — conduct in striking contrast with some more recent events 
in Europe. Such virtues, so displayed, are enough to convince 
us that British courage will flourish transplanted into other soils ; 
the branch is not unworthy of the trunk, and we may well be 
proud of the relationship existing between ourselves and the 
comparative handful of men whose deeds are commemorated in 
the following pages. 

The conviction that the character and achievements of General 
Lee, although in England he is justly esteemed a great man, are 
not so widely known and appreciated as they ought to be, has led 
the translator to offer this recital, compiled by one having peculiar 
facilitie3 for the work, to the English public. The opportimity 
seems a fit one, inasmuch as the scenes in which the hero acted, 
and, indeed, the hero himself, belong now to the past, and 
passions and feelings on both sides of the Atlantic, although not 
dead, have somewhat subsided. It is only at such times, in 


periods of calm, which, indeed, may be but intermittent, that 
characters can be duly estimated Undoubtedly, every man in 
this world has a mission to fulfil— if he will. That of Lee was a 
great one, and he fulfilled it well There is no knowing what 
may be the complications to arise in any one*s lifetime ; they may 
be such as to need, if not call forth, such characters as the one 
under consideration, and it is the translator's wish — as it was that 
of the author — ^to leave on record a worthy account of a worthy 






/ Without entering into a searching discussion of the origin of the 
American Civil War, it is impossible for us — since we have it at 
heart to set forth in relief his character who, on .the side of the 
Confederates, was commander-in-chief — not to say, in a few words, 
what were in our opinion the causes of this war. 

Coleridge used to say of the United States, that they were 
splendid materials out of which, at some future time, several great 
countries would be constructed. The Civil War of 1861 has been 

• the first sign of dislocation, the first token of breaking-up, the first 
trembling of the soil — forerunners of the commotion yet to come. 
According to the party of separation, the Federal union had served 
its time. The interests of the Southern States demanded a distinct 
and independent government The Federal system, founded at the 
epoch of the Revolution, admirable in its early form and applica- 
tion, had been subsequently perverted, giving birth to a dismal 
rivalry between state and state, and becoming the source of all 
kinds of intestine dissensions. The Federal principle regulated the 
American Union, but this union was only a confederation of 
States : this principle operated on an equality with another prin- 


ciple, that of the States* internal government Often, therefore, 
there was a confusion between their attributes, or rather encroach- 
ments, sometimes on the one side, sometimes on the other. Hence 
a multitude of abuses. It was easy, after this, to foresee how 
many causes of decay and deatli the system concealed in its 

In the early years of the Federal agreement, the different 
political parties, only having in view the advantages which they 
could draw from it, did not fail to work what defects there were 
in the new system to their own profit. It was no longer the calm 
and dignified judgment of Washington which presided over the 
destinies of the republic. Under Jefferson, the third President, it 
became subject to the meddling of democratic passions* 

Whatever may be the tradition in America to regard the 
authors of this Constitution of 1787 as public idols, sad experience 
has proved to us that their work comprehended enormous defi- 
ciencies. It witnesses to a want of foresight and an absence of 
sohcitude for the changes which the fiiture would bring beyond 
all idea. Only to speak of the question of slavery, no precaution 
was taken in view of the complications which were sure to arise. 
It was only said that persons held for service or laboUr who at- 
tempted to escape should be given up to their masters. 

K the Constitution had explained itself on this question without 
ambiguity, in a few clear and precise words, what misfortunes 
might have been avoided ! 

Another article provides that : " Each state shall retain its 
sovereignty, liberty, and independence, as well as all the powers, 
jurisdiction, and rights with which, by this act of confederation, the 
United States assembled in Congress are not expressly invested." 

At the time of the discussion of the Constitution of 1787, there 
were in the convention three pohtical parties. Some wished to 
confine themselves to a review of the provisional confederation 
which had existed during the war. Others desired to abolish the 
division into states entirely, and absorb them into one great cen- 


tralized country. The third party sought to conciliate the interests 
of the smaller and larger states ; whence sprung the representation, 
in two grades, of the people and the states, each having its separate 
chamber. The amendments made in the Constitution introduced, 
on certain points, a clearness which was wanting to the original 
work. For instance : " The enunciation in the Constitution of 
certain rights shall not be interpreted in the sense of a negation or 
lessening of certain other rights reserved to the people." 

Another article : " The powers not delegated to the United 
States by the Constitution, or not interdicted by it to the different 
states, are reserved to each state individually, or to the people." 

The union thus constituted formed neither a nationaUty, nor a 
simple repubUc divided into provinces, nor a league of states 
without any power over individuals. In separating from the 
British Empire, the Americans had preferred to retain their 
thirteen sovereignties distinct, rather than to form a single state. 
This fractional division guaranteed them their hves, property, and 
municipal rights. On its side, the Federal Government was to 
serve for their defence against the foreigner in time of war, and, 
in time of peace, to protect the smaller states against the ambition 
of the larger. 

This Constitution was adopted only by a certain number of the 
states forming part of the first Confederation, that which had 
victoriously brought to a conclusion the contest with the mother 
country. The other states took to it later, at different epochs, 
each in its quality of a sovereign state ; so that the second union 
was formed from states withdrawing from the first, and three of 
them expressly reserved to themselves, when ratif}dng the act of 
this second Confederation, the right to withdraw from this also, if 
it seemed good to them. Virginia, when giving its assent, said, 
"We, delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected, &c., &c., 
declare and make known in its name that the powers granted 
according to the Constitution, proceeding from the people of the 
United States, can be resumed by it, in case any abuse be made 

B 2 


of them to do it wrong or oppress it" The States of New York 
and Rhode Island made analogous declarations. 

It is a great mistake to think that the act of union was an 
inauguration of new principles. Each state had long enjoyed 
civil institutions which left nothing to be desired. The Federal 
tie had been merely conceived as a convenient means for mutual 
extension and protection. That was its mission. Principles 
guaranteeing individual liberty, or protecting the rights of each, 
had been defined five hundred years previously, with as much 
precision as vigour, in England, in the great charter of Runny- 
mede ; they had passed from thence into all the colonial charters, 
and formed at all times the basis of English institutions in 

What was new, and what had a real value in the Federal 
Constitution, was the delicate adjustment of the relations between 
the state* and the central government, whence resulted a har- 
monious whole. The division of powers between the States* 
Governments and the Federal Government, the first reserving to 
themselves their internal affairs, and all that affected the interests 
of the citizens, the second holding sway over all relations with 
the foreigner, and between the states themselves, was the triumph 
of local self-government, the importance of which was recognised. 
The two great political schools of America, the partisans of 
centralization and those of states-rights, naturally arose from the 
different manner of looking at the relations existing between the 
Central Government and the states. Now let us here touch on 
the question of slavery. 

According to the idea of the centralizing party, all Northerners, 
the Federal Government, which exercised the power, had also the 
responsibility of it; and the existence of slavery ought to be 
regulated according to the greater or less extent of power which 
the Federal Government might have to restrain or abolish it. 
The partisans of states-rights replied, that each state had re- 
served to itself the sovereignty for the precise purpose of not 


allowing to the Central Government the least pretext to meddle 
with internal affairs, of which slavery was one of the chief.* 

These latter regarded the union as a contract between the 
states ; the centralizing party looked upon it as a government 
above the states, and, consequently, superior to them. 

The question of slavery must not be separated from what renders 
it complicate. It has got so entangled in all the past of the 
country, that, to study it from an aesthetic point of view, to make 
it the thesis of a declamation on morality, would Tdc in the highest 
degree unjust In the development of the poHtical rivalship 
between the two regions of the American Union, North and 
South, it has been a iriere incident imported with a good deal of 
cleverness, but with little caution. Slavery furnished a most 
seasonable battlefield to the opponents ; it served as a line of demar- 
cation ready traced ; it was the most marked difference between 
the two rivals. Like the Trojan horse, it offered a* very con- 
venient vehicle by means of which to introduce discord and 
confusion into the heart of the edifice of the Constitution. 
Every one found there arms to his taste, offensive and defensive ; 
the North saw in it a fact damaging the South, a ground on 

♦ The Legislative Assemblies of Virginia and Kentucky, in 1798, passed 
some resolutions which very clearly defined, from the states-rights' point of 
view, the idea of people who foresaw the dangers of the future. Here is the 
first of these resolutions : ** The different states composing the United States 
of America do not acknowledge themselves as obliged to a submission without 
limit to the Central Government. Under the name of Constitution of the 
United States, and amendments to that Constitution, they have established a 
General Government for a definitive end, delegating to this Government certain 
definite powers, but each state reserving to itself, for its own self-government, 
all the rest of its attributes. When, therefore, the General Government 
arrogates to itself powers not delegated, its acts are unauthorized, null, and of 
no effect. Each state is associated to this contract in its quality of sovereign 
state. The Government created by this agreement can in nowise be 
constituted a judge without appeal of the powers conceded to it, since, in that 
case, it would be its moderation, and not the Constitution, which would fix 
the limit of its attributes. It follows, therefore, that, as in all contracts 
between parties not having a common judge, each party will have an equal 
right to judge for itself, both with regard to damage and redress." 


which it would have for itself the S)iiipathies of Europe ; the 
South, exasperated because the North, formerly its ally (since it 
was associated with it in a participation of the cause), thrust in its 
face a disgrace, the responsibility of which mounted far back into 
the past, found in this proceeding a want of good faith, a case of 
the accused become accuser. In the long run the discussion 
grew envenomed; the attention became concentrated on this 
question ; it threw all others into the shade ; the occasion was 
substituted for the cause, and what at first was only a secondary 
incident came to be regarded as the principal subject of the 

In the early years of the new confederation, , all measures 
relative to slavery were always voted in Congress without dis- 
cussion, almost unanimously. Louisiana and Florida, slave 
territories, received their definitive organization without giving 
place to the least agitation. Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, 
and Alabama entered into the Union without the fact of their 
being slave states making any difficulty. Not till 1820, upon 
the admission of the State of Missouri, whence resulted a com- 
promise limiting slavery to a degree of latitude fixed beforehand, 
did the true nature of the controversy on slavery burst out ; what 
had existed in a latent state for a long time then first became 
apparent, a political organization in the North opposed to another 
political organization in the South. 

Slavery was an evil, a great evil, a frightful misfortune for that 
part of the American Continent afflicted with it What endea- 
vours have not been made, by Northerners and Southerners, with 
equity, charity, and moderation, to root out, little by little, this 
scourge ; to restrain it within limits narrower and narrower ; to 
accentuate still more the marked progress in the increase of the 
number of states, formerly slave-holding, which renounced the 
maintenance of negroes in slavery ! At the time of the declara- 
tion of independence, in 1776, Massachusetts was the only state 
which had no slaves. In 1861, of the thirteen original states, six, 


Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsyl- 
vania, and New Jersey had abolished slavery. Two others of the 
states which founded the Union, Delaware and Maryland, were 
on the eve of doing so. A great majority of the more recently 
admitted states, some detached from the old states, others new 
territories promoted to the rank of* states, had never known 
slavery. Missouri, Kentucky, the West, could hardly delay 
following the example of Maryland, so that the space occupied by 
slave states tended to diminish from year to year by an inevitable 
law. To wish to force events, and precipitate an issue already 
foreseen, was a criminal act, when one thinks of the interests at 
stake, the lives that were about to be t)ut in peril, the complexity 
of the problems which would have to be solved. "The ardour, the 
fury, the stubbornness, the injustice of the abolitionists, provoked 
the same ardour, the same fury, the same stubbornness, and the 
same injustice among their adversaries. Did the North appeal 
to the Bible and to the authority of the Scriptures ? The South did 
likewise. Did the school of Mr. Sumner, the chief of the 
abolitionist party, cite acts of cruelty in the slave states ? The 
partisans of the South recalled to it the condition of the free 
negroes in the North, where they were treated as a pestilence, 
absolutely forbidden to ride in a wagon or omnibus, to go into a 
church, temple, or theatre, or to rest in a cemetery reserved 
exclusively for the use of the white race. In Illinois, the foot of 
a negro could not tread upon the soil of the state. He exposed 
himself to be whipped and led back to the frontier. In other 
states, if he married a white he was soundly thrashed. The 
North forgot too readily, in attacking slavery, that it had long 
been partkeps criminis. Only from the day when a considerable 
party in the free states believed it would be able to make use of 
the fact as a powerful lever against its associate, now become its 
rival — only from that day did it bethink itself to be shocked at 
the profound immorality. 

The rivalry of interests between the two districts of the country, 


North and South, between the manufacturing and the agricultural 
states, powerfully contributed, on its side, to hasten the explosion. 
The North, having to protect fabrics of every kind and numerous 
manufactures, was protectionist to the utmost The South, on the 
contrary, producing only raw materials, would have every induce- 
ment to exchange them for the manufactured products of Europe, 
and was for free trade. The Southern ports would have acquired 
a great development if they had been able to hold direct relations 
with the Old World. In the colonial era these relations had 
existed; the prosperity of Virginia was then much greater 
than that of the Northern States. But the protectionist tariff, 
imposing excessive duties on European products, prevented all 
direct trade between the South and Europe. Thus the South saw 
itself compelled to sell its raw materials in the North, at a price 
which suited the latter, which, by skilfully devised duties, had 
succeeded in removing all foreign participation from American 

After the war of 1812-1814 against England, manufacturers in 
the Northern States acquired a great development In 181 6 the 
duties on foreign objects were raised, as well to protect indigenous 
manuHictures as to pay the national debt, the legacy of the late 
war. This protectionist tariff met with a lively opposition in the 
country. Its adversaries at once made the remark, that the Con- 
stitution did not recognise in the Federal Government any right 
to create imposts to protect one branch of national industry to the 
detriment of another; and then, that these protectionist laws 
injured the interests of the states producing raw materials, and 
deprived the inhabitants of those states of their legitimate right to 
sell in the dearest and buy in the cheapest market 

l^hibitive duties received, in 1824, a new augmentation, to the 
great displeasure of the Southern States, which, however, resigned 
themselves to it, hoping that, the public debt once paid, these 
ini(M>sts would disappear. In 1828 the adoption of a series of 
prohibitive laws in favour of the hemp and wool of the West, the iron 


of Pennsylvania, and the cotton goods of New England, highly 
exasperated the Southern States, which saw well that the majority 
had resolved to render this system of imposts permanent 

In 1 83 1, the debt having been discharged, and Congress re- 
fusing to reduce the duties on goods of foreign manufacture, the 
people of South Carolina met and appointed delegates to a State 
Convention. These there set forth the grievances of the 
Southerners. " Of what importance to the Southern States is the 
creation of a government highly centralized ? These states will 
never form anything but a minority in the country. They differ 
from the states of the majority in institutions, industry, and 
interests ; — ^their interests, indeed, are incompatible with those of 
the North. It will happen, therefore, that they will not be 
governed according to their own interests, or according to their 
own views and sentiments, but according to the interests and 
prejudices of the states of the majority. . . . Under the 
pretext of obtaining the means of liquidating the public debt, and 
of providing for the defence and well-being of the entire country, 
certain laws have been adopted, the avowed end of which is to 
preserve the monopoly of our market exclusively to American 
manufacturers, to the great detriment of those among us who 
produce commodities much sought after in European markets. 
Although a tax of ten or twelve per cent suffices for all the 
legitimate expenditure of the government, a tax of fifty per cent 
has been imposed on all the woollen and cotton goods, the cast 
and wrought iron, the sugar, salt, and nearly all other articles 
which the foreigner sends us in exchange for the cotton, rice, and 
tobacco of the South, in order to benefit those Northern manu- 
facturers who produce the same articles. . . . The in- 
dustry of the North is protected, and that of the South discoiuuged." 

This was the language .already prevalent in 1831. There was, 
after the South Carolina resistance, a passing appeasement, but 
the protectionist tariff did not the less continue till the Civil War, 
and was, indeed, one of the causes bringing it about 


Another reason which greatly influenced events was the long 
standing antipathy between the inhabitants of the North and those 
of the South. The population of the United States is far from 
being homogeneous. From the early times of the colonization a 
great diversity has shown itself. Cromwell's Roundheads, sec- 
tarian Puritans, emigrated in a crowd at the restoration of Charles 
II., in 1660. And they went to join their co-religionists in New 
England, who settled there under James I. and Charles I. Nearly 
all these Puritans belonged to the middle classes. This part of 
the United States, now subdivided into six small states, but still 
known under the general name of "New England," is a cold, 
barren,' and stony country, on a subsoil of rock and granite, beaten 
by the waves of the Atlantic, under a rigorous sky. The Puritans 
who took refuge there, having hearts of rock and granite also, had 
to struggle against the rigour of the elements, after having suffered 
so much from the rigour of their fellow creatures. Persecuted, 
they founded there a society of persecutors. The exile of Roger 
Williams, and the hundreds of poor sorcerers who were burnt 
there, are sad proofs of this. The Civil War in 186I testified that 
the old Puritan leaven had lost nothing of its harshness. Little by 
little its strong will has absorbed the social liberty of the indi- 
vidual for the profit of the mass, and imposed on all the North 
and West its scriptural phraseology, nasal accent, and meagre 
type, pale, angular, persevering, laborious, calculating, cold and 
agitated at the same time. 

The American of the Northern States has further undergone the 
influence of a climate very diflierent from that whence came his 
ancestors. In the South the sky is more clement ; those long 
colds which strain the nerves are rare. Consequently the people 
here are more inclined to enjoy life. In the North the population 
is much mixed with German or Irish blood, without speaking of 
other varieties. Its type has been affected by it, sometimes 
approaching the Teuton or the Celt, sometimes, under the in- 
fluence of climate, recalling the red-skins who were indigenous 



to the country. Lincoln was a striking example of this ; a true 
Cherokee white, with straight hair, high cheekbones, unfathomable 
aspect, with a stony nature in the large hands, destined to manual 
labour, a nature withdrawing from intellectual work as much as 
possible, A mind of mediocrity, honourable and upright through 
the absence of passions, vulgar, but by no means wicked, loving 
allegory in the manner of common people, full of self-confidence, a 
believer in his own mission, a true representative of tlie most 
recent form of American democracy. 

The Southern districts, on the contrary, were first colonized 
under the auspices and by the influence of the Court Ebzabeth, 
James L, and the two Charleses, granted to different noblemen 
territorial concessions on the banks of the Potomac and the river 
James. These sent, or, like the lonJs Baltimore and Fairfax, 
themselves conducted, thither numerous colonists — farmers, trades- 
men, servants bom on their English estates, or younger sons of 
good families seeking to better their condition. Very naturally, 
this society was a reflection of that which it had left behind it 
Founded by the Cavaliers, it carried into Virginia toasts to the 
confusion of the regicides, and continued to be essentially aristo- 
cratic — the antiiwdes, consequently, of the neighbouring colonies 
of New England. The refugee Huguenots in Carohna, Louisiana, 
an old French colony, and Florida, peopled by Spaniards, came 
in time to join the Southern States, and render still more marked 
the contrast between the Southern and Northern parts of the 
United States, 

By the introduction of negroes from Africa, a new element was 
introduced, which increased the features of difference between the 
Virginians and Puritans, The Southerner had not, like the 
Northerner, to struggle against a harsh and barren nature. 
Field-work, the cultivation of the vast territories granted by the 
crown, was in the charge of this African race, introduced 
apparentiy in such a providential manner. It is proper to say 
that, for a long time, the colonial assemblies of the South 


protested to the mother country against this traffic ; but too many 
people profited by it, and many a large fortune in Old and New 
England proceeds from this impure source. 

Thus it is not doubtful that the great qualities of the Northerners, 
the companions of the Winthrops and Cottons, were developed in 
this contest against so many difficulties ; they extended their 
influence over the neighbouring colonies, and everywhere estab- 
lished the foundations of that power which has become the United 

The Southerner, on the contrary, a planter and hunter, of open 
nature, and not mercenary, living in a more enervating country, 
and preserving entire the good qualities of the English race from 
which he descended, did not acquire new traits. He remained a 
European transplanted into Virginia, while his New England 
neighbour identified himself thoroughly with his new country, 
and worked incessantly to subdue and appropriate it, to develop 
all its riches. The first seemed somewhat denationalised in this 
nineteenth century, the second was a most faithful expression of 
his origin. Thus the diversity of race, the difference of habits, 
manners, and occupations, methods of education absolutely 
opposed — all have contributed to render the discord to which the 
Union has been a prey the more profound. 

The great qualities of the English colonists who founded the 
United States, and of their descendants, have been described by 
the most eloquent writers of the two worlds; consequently, we 
only seek here to seize the contrast between the two branches of 
the English race who have peopled the North and the South. 

But there were other causes which rendered the relations 
between the two halves of the Union more difficult The contest 
between them dates back to a period long before the Constitution. 
On two important questions their rivalry had been great. One 
had reference to the territory of Virginia, the other to the naviga- 
tion of the Mississippi. No question could be dearer to the 
American colonists than that which touched their territory; it 


was their future. It shows clearly the little agreement there was 
between the North and South, without recourse being had to the 
troubled questiorr of the plague of slavery, thrust continually to 
the front by too many writers as the veritable and only cause of 
the war. 

The Virginian territory, before the formation of the American 
Union, would of itself have sufficed for a vast empire. Its limits 
extended to the Mississippi, comprising all Kentucky, and beyond 
the river Ohio to the Great Lakes, embracing an area equal to 
two-and-a-half times that of all France. In more modem times 
the following states have been formed out of it: — Ohio (39,971 
square miles in area); Indiana (33,152 square miles); Illinois 
(54,336 square miles); Michigan (55,149 square miles); Wis- 
consin (53,728 square miles); Minnesota (84,457 square miles); 
Dacotah (about 154,450 square miles) ; which, added to the two 
Virginias, East and West (32,704 square miles, and 23,253 square 
miles respectively), and Kentucky proper (36,936 square miles), 
gives a grand total of 531,200 square miles, while the whole of 
France occupies but 209,428 square miles. 

It may be easily imagined that, with such a territorial pre- 
ponderance, all union with the neighbouring colonies, some of 
them very small, would have been impossible. This obstacle, was 
removed by an act emanating from Virginia itself, an act of 
which history probably offers no other example. Not only did it, 
in 1783, cede to the United States all its territory north-west of 
the Ohio, but, by an ordinance of 1787, it consented further that 
slavery should be excluded from all these vast dominions in 
perpetuity. The states which have been formed of these ceded 
territories were, as is well known, nearly all ranged against Virginia 
in the vehement and pitiless war of 1861. The North has never 
exhausted its eulogies on this great act of generous disinterested- 
ness, on the sacrifice which Virginia made to the Union. Why 
did it not follow such an example, not according to the letter, 
but according to the spirit? The order, harmony, peace, and 



prosperity of the New Worid would not then have been so cruelly 
and foolishly troubled. 

Virginia, it is true, had fixed two conditions to this concession. 
The first was, that the country ceded should never form but five 
states. The second was, that all fugitive slaves who were found 
on this territory, or on states subsequently formed from it, should 
be given up to their owners. In 1784, however, there was already 
a thought in the North of dividing the territory under considera- 
tion into ten states, and to admit each state into the Union when ' 
its population came to equal that of the least populous of the 
states already in the Confederation. This project was intended 
to augment, as much as possible, the relative power of the free 
states, that is to say, of the North. Thus, from the earliest dis- 
agreement, we see the Northern party displaying its intention of 
increasing its preponderance, and the Southern party seeking only 
to preserve its independence in the Union, and make it respected. 

The two conditions which Virginia had made were treated as if 
they did not exist It has been pretended that that which had 
reference to fugitive slaves was immoral, and consequently ought 
not to be observed. 

As to the Mississippi question, it will suffice to recollect that, 
in 1786, this river marked the boundary between the United' 
States and the countries dependent on the crowns of France and 
Spain. When, in 1787, the Convention assembled at Philadelphia 
to discuss the new Constitution, the seven Northern States only 
appeared disposed to cede to the Spaniards the exclusive right 
of the navigation of the Mississippi, which step would have 
paralysed in its infancy the development of the Western and 
Southern States, and for a long time rendered safe the political 
predominance of the North. 

It was under the influence of sentiments awakened by these 
conflicts that, on the 15th of May, 1787, the representatives of the 
North and of the South were opposed to each other, resolved on 
either side, if a more intimate union was to be estabhshed between 


them, to take care that, in the Confederation, their rights, interests, 
independence and liberty should be efficaciously regarded. At 
that epoch slavery afforded no obstacle, and ruffled no one. 
But it was not easy, even then, to conciliate people whose interests 
agreed so badly. All that could be accomplished was to slip 
over difficulties which were insurmountable. When one reads 
afresh the history of this Convention, and remarks all the pre- 
cautions taken by the North against the South, and by this 
against its rival, there can only be astonishment at the ignorance 
of those writers of the Old World who pretend that slavery was 
the only cause of the Civil War of 186 1. 

Neither of the two parties wished to regulate definitively the 
powers to be entrusted to the Central Government, before ascer- 
taining what portion of the control over these powers would 
return to each of them, and what influence each would have on 
the course of the government. As, in order to refine this control 
and influence, it was necessary first to decide the proportion and 
mode of representation of each region in the Federal Congress, it 
followed that, of all questions debated in the Convention, none 
was discussed with more violence and obstinacy than that which 
had reference to the manner in which the representatives 
ivould be elected More than once, in connection with this 
question, they were on the eve of a total misunderstanding and a 
dissolution of the Union. 

The relation between population and the number of represen- 
tatives offers some very curious comparisons. Thus, in 1789, 
there was one representative to 33,000 inhabitants ; according to 
the census of i860, each delegate represented 127,381 inhabitants. 
In the first chamber of representatives, under General Washington, 
ten members sat for the State of Virginia, as against six for the 
State of New York ; in the last, under Buchanan, Virginia had 
eleven members against thirty for New York. South Carolina at 
first nominated one-thirteenth of the representatives sitting in 
Congress; in i860 it was no longer represented but by four 


members in a chamber of 233. The North, therefore, had in 
Congress the disposal of a majority so crushing, that it had only 
to act unanimously in order to nullify all opposition coming from 
the South. Mr. Lincoln, at the presidential election of 1861, 
polled 1,858,200 votes. The other candidates had combined, 
Douglas, 1,276,780, Breckenridge, 812,500, and Bell, 735,554. 
Here was a total of 2,824,874, or nearly a million more than 
Lincoln. But, having obtained the relative majority, the latter 
was declared elected. His election was purely geographical. 
All the Northern States, except New Jersey, had voted for him ; 
all the Southern States against. He was not nominated for 
himself, being unknown, but his name possessed a significance 
which caused great fear to the South. In Congress, the North 
counted 183 votes, the South only 120. In 1840, the abolitionist 
party had been able to assemble only 7,000 votes ; in i860, it 
gathered together nearly 2,000,000, and succeeded in carrying its 
candidate for the presidential chair. There was nothing to be 
hoped for from the conservative democratic party, the Southern 
ally in the North ; it no longer existed. In critical times there 
was a place only for extremes. 

The South has been severely blamed for having retired from the 
Union when its preponderating power escaped it, after having 
wielded it without interruption from the foundation of the United 
States. This is true ; the South had exercised at Washington a 
great political preponderance, but it did not thereby menace any 
of the institutions established in the North, it demanded from it no 
sacrifice, it did not seek to bring about any revolution on its own 
behalf. Its political projects never had anything aggressive in 
them. The South was continually on the defensive. 

" Do not forget," said Senator Hammond, of South Carolina, 
answering Mr. Seward, who bragged in the Senate that henceforth 
the North would govern the country ; " Do not forget — for that 
would be impossible, for it is one of the most briUiant pages in the 
history of mankind — that we slave-owners of the South took charge 


of our country from its cradle, and that after having governed it 
for sixty years out of the seventy it has lived, we give it back to 
your hands without a stain on its honour, flourishing and pros- 
perous, inexhaustible in its resources, high-spirited in the de- 
velopment of its forces, the envy and admiration of the whole 
world. The future will demonstrate what you will do with it; 
but no future will be able to tarnish our glory, or diminish your 

As long as the South prevailed in the councils of the nation, 
certain persons belonging to the radical party in the North were 
simply deprived of places, and did not attain to power. But from 
the day when the North, acting not only as a political party, but 
also as a people united for an end, supplanted the South, the latter 
was exposed to something much more serious than a passing evil 
or antagonistic ambition — it was the accession at Washington of a 
despotism of a section which threatened the institutions, fortune, 
and life of the entire people of the Southern States. The South, 
armed with central power, only injured a certain political party 
in the North, the abolitionists ; the North, master at Washington, 
held in its hands the repose and prosperity of every individual in 
the South. It was, therefore, very natural for the latter to with- 
draw from an association where the stake was so unequal, and 
where its loss must inevitably lead to its ruin. 

Without carrying our retrospective researches further, we, think 
enough has been said to demonstrate clearly how profound and 
legitimate was the antagonism between North and South, from the 
times which preceded the definitive establishment of the Federal 
Constitution, and how, in these latter years, this state of things 
has only grown worse. 

The behef, therefore, must not be permitted that slavery was 
the real subject of the strife. This, to-day, would be a proof of 
marvellous ignorance, or of an unpardonable bias. A question so 
complex could not be reduced to terms so simple. What rules 
everything in this great fratricidal war, and in the parliamentary 



storms which preceded it, is the struggle of federalism against cen- 
tralization, the desperate resistance of states feeling themselves 
menaced in their right of self-government, and on the eve of being 
absorbed into a Unitarian power. The duel becoming envenomed, 
everything coming to hand was converted into a weapon. The 
question of slavery, which should have had, and would have had, 
a happy termination, with the aid of time and mutual concessions, 
offered to the fanatic partisans of abolition in America and else- 
where too tempting an opportunity for them to neglect making 
use of it. 

To seek to establish a strong centralization in the United 
States was less excusable than in any other country whatever. 
There were no dangerous neighbours ; nothing in local institutions 
shackled individual liberty ; military, civil, and commercial liberty, 
in fact, existed everywhere. Only the thirst to exclude their 
adversaries from power, stained with the name of slave-traders, but 
whose true wrong was that of being sincere conservatives, little 
disposed to allow themselves to be invaded by the radical ideas 
so much in favour in the North, set fire to the train. 

Slavery was to disappear ; but it is to be regretted that, by en- 
veloping in the same ruin all that the South contained of conser- 
vative and respectable elements, that half of the Union was 
devoted to destruction, which was a counterpoise to the political 
fanaticism, financial corruption, and impassioned love of change so 
developed in the North. This country of the Washingtons, 
Jeffersons, Lees, Munroes, Madisons — this nursery of statesmen, 
where the social life allowed men to prepare themselves to guide 
their fellow-creatures — is to-day represented in congress by illiterate 
negroes — a crying anomaly which the North would not permit 
as regards itself, but which it has imposed on the conquered 
South ! 

In spite of all the faults with which it can be reproached, 
the work of bygone generations which obeyed the Washingtons, 
Adamses, and Hamiltons, has left grand and beautiful traces. It 


knew how to ally a wise love of liberty with respect for the past. 
It remains to be seen whether the actual regime, where only 
mediocrities and characters often wanting in honour predominate, 
will leave to future generations a testimony which shall cause 
them to forget, in spite of the deficiences which have had such sad 
consequences, the Act of Independence, and the wise institutions 
which emanated from the founders of the American Union. 

c 2 





The character of a man is always best explained and understood 
when one knows something of his origin. He often resumes and 
accumulates in his person the most remarkable qualities of his 
ancestors. In General Lee we shall discover more than one trait 
of the members of his family. The Lees of Virginia spring from 
an old English family, whose patrimonial estates were situated in 
Essex. In 1 192, we find a Lionel Lee at the head of a company 
of gentlemen, accompanying Richard Cceur de Lion in the third 
crusade. He so distinguished himself at the Siege of Saint Jean 
d'Acre, that, on his return, King Richard created him Earl of 
Lichfield, and gave him the property of Ditchley^ a name which 
subsequently was borne by one of the Lees* estates in Virginia. 
The armour which Lionel wore in the Holy Land can still be seen 
in the Tower of London. 

In 1542, Richard Lee entered Scotland with the Earl of Surrey. 
Two members of the family were at that time Klnights of the 
Garter, and their banners, with the Lees* arms above, are 
suspended in St. George's Chapel at Windsor. 

Under Elizabeth, Sir Henry Lee was a Knight of the Garter. 
The title of Earl of Lichfield was still in the Lee family in 1674. 

Richard Lee, the seventh son of Sir Robert Lee, of Hullcott, 
and younger brother of Sir Henry Lee, of Ditchley, came to 
Virginia in the reign of Charles I. as secretary to the colony. 


After an absence in England, he returned to settle for good in 
the country. Altogether royalist, like all his family, he did not 
wait for the end of the English Commonwealth to proclaim 
Charles II. The rest of his days were given up to the care of his 
vast estates, and the direction of the affairs of the colony. 

Thomas Lee, grandson of Richard, was President of the 
Colonial Council, and Governor of Virginia, the first man of 
American birth named to this post by the English Government 
Tliree of his sons played a remarkable part in the War of Inde- 
pendence : Richard Henry Lee, one of the best orators and 
debaters in the United States Congress ; Francis Lightfoot Lee, 
one of the signatories to the Act of Independence ; and Arthur 
Lee, who represented, in France and elsewhere, the colonial 

General Henry Lee, the contemporary and friend of Washing- 
ton, father of General R. E. Lee, was grandson of a brother of 
President Lee. He took service in 1776. After having vahantly 
and brilliantly fought under the eyes of Washington, he went, in 
1 781, with his regiment of light cavalry, become celebrated by its 
exploits, to join General Green's corps in the CaroUnas. 

There he rendered great service in the series of operations 
which led to the surrender of the English army under Lord 
ComwaUis. The memoirs left by him on his campaign are 
remarkable. He was a man of well-cultivated mind, as is proved 
by some admirable letters addressed to one of his sons, very 
energetic, brilliant in conversation, having in a very high degree 
the mens aqua in arduis. Become Governor of Virginia and 
member of congress, he pronounced the funeral oration of 
Washington. He died himself in 181 8. 

It was at Stratford, in the county of Westmoreland {Virginia), 
that Robert Edward Lee, the third son of the preceding, was born. 
Before passing to the accidental events of Robert Lee's public 
life, let us stop a moment to contemplate the old dwelling where 
he first saw the light, on January 19th, 1807. Those old walls, 


' mute and sad witnesses of the past, attract us, not only because 
they saw the birth of an illustrious man, but also because they 
recall to us a state of society wliich exists no longer, and of which 
they are one of the last remaining monuments. 

Stratford House was originally built by Richard Lee, the first of 
the name who came to America. It was destroyed by a fire in the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, in the time of Thomas Lee. 
A member of the council-royal, Thomas Lee was much beloved ; 
as soon as the disaster was known, contributions flowed in on all 
sides from persons desirous to testify to him their esteem. Queen 
Caroline herself wishdd to contribute, and wrote Lee an autograph 
letter. The mansion rapidly rose again ; the bricks of which it 
was built, the wainscoting, and furniture all came firom England. 
Goodly dwellings Hke this had at that time their reasonable 
purpose. Lost in the depths of the country, they served as a 
refuge and place of assembly for all the members of the family. 

The eldest son succeeded the father, and the representative 
of the family continued to reside there from generation to genera- 
tion. These times exist no longer ; and the love of the hearth 
and family recollections have disappeared with them. 

Lee was deeply imbued with these sentiments of former times ; 
he loved the old country-houses of old Virginian families, simple- 
minded and honourable folks, attached, like himself, to the soil 
of Virginia. 

Stratford, the old home of the Lees, situated on a hillock which 
rises on the left bank of the Potomac, is a building sufficiently 
large. The estate is well wooded. Oaks, cedars, and maple-trees 
abound there. In the interior, the distribution of the rooms, the 
style of the wainscot and mouldings, the appearance of the halls 
and corridors, all remind us of the times of powdered perriwigs 
and silk stockings. It was here that, after the War of Indepen- 
dence, General Henry Lee retired to live. Three generations of 
Lees had lived here, leading a large-hearted and hospitable 


In each generation more than one distinguished man had 
attracted there the ^te of colonial society ; those ancient walls 
had resounded with the noise of f<§tes ; the great gate had never 
been closed, everybody was welcome, and the type of a life there 
existed which one looks for now in vain, but which had at least 
the merit of being cordial, generous, and engaging. Henry Lee, 
the brilliant warrior, was, like all his race, given to expense ; with . 
him the cover was ever laid, all who came were well received j 
whence it happened that his latter years were straitened. 

It was in this abode, become silent and solitary, in the same 
room where several of his distinguished ancestors were bom, that 
Robert Edward Lee first saw the day. 

The first looks of his infancy were directed to those old rooms, 
those large paternal fields and familiar rural occupations, those 
oaks and poplars over which the wind brought him the murmurs 
of the Potomac. It was thus that there became gradually impressed 
on his young heart a love for the soil, for country hfe, for his 
fatherland, for his family. 

Surrounded as he was by portraits, parchments, and other 
^ tokens, which recalled the already ancient origin and position of 
his forefathers, the child saw, in one of the rooms of the manor 
house, his father, sick and grey-headed, nbt long since the friend 
of Washington and Greene, writing an account of the battles in 
which he had drawn the sword for the defence of his country. 

It was amidst such surroundings that young R. E. Lee grew 
up. His character was deeply affected by them, for he was at an 
age when the mind receives each new impression ; thus to his last 
day he remained simple-minded, true, worthy, courteous, the type 
of a Virginian country gentleman. He rejoiced in a view of the 
fields ; he loved horses, and rode admirably ; rural occupations 
and the murmur of streams had for him many more charms than 
cities and crowds. In the year of his death he wrote to a friend : 
" My visits to Florida and the White Sulphur (mineral springs in 
Virginia) have not benefited me much ; but it did me good to go 


to the White House (an estate belonging to one of his sons), and 
see the mules walking rounds and the com growing,^^ 

A last and inestimable advantage which he owed to this simple 
and manly country life, was the robust and vigorous health which 
resisted all the trials of war. Strong as a forest oak, he appeared 
equally insensible to \vant of sleep, hunger, thirst, cold, and 

" Robert was always good," wrote his father. All his youth, all 
his life proved this. In 1811, his family removed to live in 
Alexandria, a small town situated nearly opposite Washington, which 
offered more conveniences for the education of the children. Robert 
remained there with his mother and sisters till, having decided 
on a military career, he was sent, at the age of eighteen, to the 
military school of West Point, where Virginia paid the expenses 
of his education. This school, situated in the village of the same 
name, on the Hudson River, in the state of New York, was 
founded in 1802, on the model of St. Cyr, and its studies were 
very severe. Lee left in 1829, the second in his class. He had 
been remarked for his studious habits and exemplary conduct 
From this time his living was temperate ; he drank only water, and 
did not smoke. Nominated as a lieutenant of engineers, he was for 
several years employed in fortifying the United States* boundaries. 
In 1832, he married Mary, daughter of George Washington Parke 
Custis, grandson of Washington's wife, and adopted son of Washing- 
ton himself, who, having no children, had adopted two of his wife's 

Miss Custis brought the young officer a large landed fortune, 
of which later events in part deprived him. This marriage, in the 
eyes of the world, made Robert Lee the representative of the 
family of the founder of American liberty. In estimating his 
conduct at the beginning of the Civil War, it is necessary not to 
lose sight of this fact 

The war which broke out in 1847, between the United States and 
Mexico, found Robert Lee arrived at the rank of captain. He 


commanded the engineers during the whole campaign. At the 
siege of Vera Cruz he rendered signal service. Pursued by the 
American army into the interior, the Mexican troops halted on 
the heights of Cerro Gordo, and there gave battie, which was well 
contended for. Captain Lee had, at the head of his pioneers, to 
make several dangerous reconnoitrings. In three days he 
constructed a road, by which, unknowTi to the enemy, he brought 
up some li^t batteries. The extreme left of the Mexicans was 
turned, and the whole army obliged to surrender. General Santa 
Anna confessed that he did not think a goat would have been able 
to climb on that side. It was not an easy thing to construct a 
road all along steep declivities, over deep fissures, and lastly, under 
the Mexican fire. To protect the workmen it was necessary to 
fight Captain Lee was nobly seconded by Lieutenant Beauregard 
of the Engineers. Already we find these two names associated. 

In all the other affairs, and especially in the last, the battie of 
Chapultepec, which caused the capital to fall into the hands of 
General Scott, Lee was continually remarked for his military 
talents, conducting works for attack, directing columns, advising 
his general-in-chief, and often taking part in the most sanguinary 
combats. He was wounded at Chapultepec, and obhged to leave 
the field of battie. In the official report, General Scott did 
justice to the gallant conduct of his chief of engineers, and passed 
great encomiums on him. From that day the old soldier felt 
himself attracted in a peculiar manner towards the young officer. 
In 1847, Lee was promoted to the rank of major, for his services 
at Cerro Gordo, and later he received his brevet as lieutenant- 
colonel, after the batties of Contreras and Cherubusco. 

He was entrusted, in 1852, with the place of Superintendent o^ 
the Military School, twenty-three years after having quitted it a heu- 
tenant. In 1855, with the rank of heutenant-colonel, he passed 
into one of the new cavalry regiments. This regiment (the second) 
was, for several years, stationed on the Texas frontier, where it 
had to struggle continually against the Indians of that region. A 


great number of officers, who later became distinguished in the 
Civil War, were at that time in the squadrons of the second regiment 
of cavalry. Thus, Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, Lieutenant- 
Colonel R. E. Lee, First Major Hardee, Second Major Thomas, 
Captains Van Dorm and Kirby Smith, Lieutenants Hood, 
Crosby, Fitzhugh Lee, Johnston and Stoneman, attained the rank 
of general in one or the other army. It is rare to see a single 
regiment furnish so many remarkable names. 

The subjoined fragment of a letter (addressed about this time 
by Lee to his wife) will show the sentiments the young colonel 
already had on the political affairs of his country : 

" Fort Brown, Texas, 27th Dec 1856. 

" I was much pleased with the President's 

Message. His views of the systematic and progressive efforts of 
certain people at the North to interfere with and change the 
domestic institutions of the South, are truthfully and faithfully 
expressed. The consequences of their plans and purposes are 
also clearly set forth. These people must be aware that their 
object is both unlawful and foreign to them and to their duty, 
and that this institution {ue. slavery) for which they are irrespon- 
sible and unaccountable, can only be changed by them through 
the agency of a civil and servile war. There are few, I believe, 
in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery, as 
an institution, is a moral and political evil in any country. It is 
useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it a greater 
evil to the white than to the black race. While my feelings are 
strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more 
strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off* 
here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The pain- 
ful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further 
instruction as a race, and, I hope, will prepare them for better 
things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and 
ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation 'will 


sooner result from the mild and melting influence of Christianity, 
than from the storms and tempests of fiery controversy. This 
influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and miracles of 
our Saviour have required nearly 2000 years to convert but 
a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian 
nations what gross errors still exist ! While we see the course of 
the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it 
the aid of our prayers, and of all justifiable means in our power, 
we must leave the progress, as well as the result, in His hands 
who sees the end ; who chooses to work by slow influences ; with 
whom 2000 years are but as a single day. Although the 
abolitionist must know this, must know that he has neither the 
right nor the power of operating, except by moral means, and 
that, to benefit the slave, he must incite angry feelings in the 
master ; that although he may not approve the mode by which 
Providence accomplishes its purpose, the result will still be the 
same ; that the reasons he gives for interference in what he has no 
concern with, hold good with every kind of interference with our 
neighbour ; still I fear he will persevere in his evil course. 

" . . . . Is it not strange that the descendants of those 
Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own 
freedom of opinion, have always proved themselves most intolerant 
of the spiritual liberty of others ?** 

Profiting by a leave of absence, in 1859, he went home to his 
family at Arlington. This was a very large estate which had 
belonged to General Washington. At his death his adopted son, 
Mrs. Lee*s father, had inherited it. Arlington has since been 
confiscated and made into a public cemetery. During these 
events the rising of John Brown took place, a prelude, in some 
sort, to the Civil War. This fanatic, urged on by the abolitionists, 
got possession, one fine morning, of the Federal Government 
Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, a small town on the Potomac, above 
Washington. He and his companions, after having pillaged this 
establishment, where they found several thousands of rifles, spread 


themselves in the environs, calling the slaves to arms, and seizing 
all the white proprietors whom they could get possession of. The 
next day, when recovered from their surprise, the militia of the 
neighbouring counties assembled to stifle the revolt 

The telegraph carried the news to Washington, grossly exag- 
gerating it. In the absence of General Scott, President Buchanan, 
on the advice of his Secretary of War, summoned Colonel Lee, 
and confided to him the care of the operations against Harper's 
Ferry. Hastily gathering some troops, Lee arrived on the scene 
of the insurrection. The insurgents- had barricaded themselves 
inside the arsenal, and kept prisoners there Colonel Washington 
and various other citizens, as hostages, hoping the troops would 
not dare to fire on them for fear of killing the prisoners. After 
some parleying, as Brown refused to surrender, Lee made an 
assault, and obtained possession of all the insurgents, several of 
whom were either killed or wounded. When once the prisoners 
were in the hands of civil justice, Lee returned to the capital, and 
shortly after, his leave having expired, he rejoined his regiment at 
San Antonio, in Texas, where he commanded in chief. 

The election of Mr. Lincoln, in 1861, to the presidency of the 
United States, caused the liveliest agitation throughout the country. 
What everybody feared, without believing it possible, ' actually 
happened. The Southern States withdrew from the Union, and 
formed a new confederation, composed exclusively of slave states, 
under the name of the Confederate States of America. 

We have already spoken of the causes which led to this result ; 
they were numerous. Several, indeed, were inherent in the very 
essence of the Union, and would, in a given time, have worked 
its downfall. The authors of the Federal agreement had un- 
happily regulated the constitution in such a manner that this 
result was inevitable. As long as this constitution remained in 
vigour, neither the Federal Government nor the Northern States 
had the least right to force any state to remain in the Union in 
spite of itself. Whatever change the war has brought about in 


the United States' system of- government, there is no doubt that 
the Southern States, in withdrawing from the Union, availed 
themselves of an incontestable right. 

Virginia was the last state to qliit the Union. This " mother 
of presidents," as it was called — six of the thirteen presidents 
(before 1861) having been Virginians by birth — ^feeling that its 
past glory was intimately ajlied to that of the United States, and 
that by its geographical position it would be called upon to be the 
theatre of the war, had remained in the Union to the last moment, 
without wishing to leave it as long as there was any chance of 
remaining in it on honourable conditions. The Virginian Legis- 
lative Assembly suggested the Peace Conference which assembled 
at Washington in February, 1861. Its representatives to Congress 
sought by all means to arrive at an amicable arrangement. 
Finally, the convention assembled at Richmond sent delegates 
to Mr. Lincoln to persuade him to pursue a more peaceable 

But the conduct of the Federal Government in bringing about 
the capture of Fort Sumter, and President Lincoln's proclamation 
demanding 75,000 men to restrain the separated states by force, 
left Virginia no other alternative than that of uniting its destiny 
with that of its Southern sisters, or of joining the North to oppress 
them. Her choice could not be doubtful She had laboured to 
bring about a pacific agreement, and all her labours had been 
useless. She, therefore, was compelled to prepare herself to 
repulse the attack with which she would be threatened. 

Colonel Lee, camped among the Indians, several days' march 
from every great town, was outside the great movement agitating 
the country. Nevertheless, he followed the march of events with 
disquiet, as these lines of a letter, dated from Fort Mason, prove. 

** Texas, 23rd January, 1861. 

" I have received Everett's Life of Washington. How his spirit 
would be grieved could he see the wreck of his mighty labours ! 


I will not, however, permit myself to believe, until all the ground for 
hope is gone, that the fruit of his noble deeds will be destroyed, 
and that his precious advice and virtuous example will so soon be 
forgotten by his countrymen. As far as I can judge by the 
papers, we are between a state of anarchy and civil war. May 
God avert both of these evils from us ! I fear that mankind for 
years will not be sufficiently Christianized to bear the absence of 
restraint and force. I see that four states have declared them- 
selves out of the Union ; four more will apparently follow their 
example. Then, if the border states are brought into the gulf of 
revolution, one half of the country will be arrayed against the 
other. I must try and be patient, and await the end, for I can 
do nothing to hasten or retard it " 

General Scott, perceiving the gravity of what was brewing, and 
wishing to have at hand a man of whom he might be sure, recalled 
Lee immediately. Scarcely had he returned to Arlington before 
he was summoned to Washington. President Lincoln offered him 
the effective command of the Federal army, old General Scott 
being too infirm to take the field in person. The latter also 
conjured him, in the name of their old friendship, not to quit the 
army, seeking by all possible arguments to shake Lee's already 
settled resolution. 

This magnificent offer was, in effect, one of those temptations 
which but few officers would have been able to resist. But Lee 
did not hesitate to oppose a formal and immediate refusal to all 
the propositions made to him. One must be a soldier to under- 
stand all that he had to experience. On the one hand, his 
education at West Point, his habits of discipline, his life passed 
entirely under the flags of the Union, retained him in the service 
of the United States ; on the other, his love for Virginia called to 
him to abandon all for her. He felt also that the crisis had been 
hastened by political leaders, whose ideas he was far from sharing. 
He knew too .well, from a military point of view, the resources of 
the different regions of the Union, not to be able to measure. 


I. \\\ ilie dangers which the South was about to nm. 

! n century Lee had served in the United States 

'iim. He actually held in the eyes of the anny 

>■ <: first place after the veteran Scott, public 

iiitiE; him beforehand as his successor in the com- 

If lie remained in the service of the North, there 

^onouTs to nhich he might not aspire. The official offer 

J to him was a guarantee of this, and no efforts were 

> induce him to accept it On the contrary, he knew 

i associated Ids destiny with that of Virginia, miseries and 

Mit number were awaiting him; he and his ran the risk 

f mined ; he would be proclaimed a traitor in the face of 

I by the very government he had loved so much and 

I honourably. The trial was terrible, and if he had 

LConvictions less pure, or a sentiment less elevated, 

it would have gained the day. 

conduct appeared ready sketched for him. He was 

.nvinced that Virginia had the right to act as she intended, 

'diough, with his sound practical setise, he foresaw the cruel 

;^crings which must result from it A Virginian by birth, he 

lught his state had the first right to his services, that it was his 

:y to obey the call of Virginia without hesitation or discussion. 

ilierefore espoused the cause of his province. His resolution 

i been dictated by an inward conviction of his conscience, after 

.tture reflection. To seek his duty, and, having found it, to do 

., such was ever the principle of his actions. 

" My husband has wept tears of blood," Mrs. Lee wrote to a 
iriend, " over this terrible war ; but he must, as a man and a 
Virginian, share the destiny of his state, which has solemnly 
pronounced for independence." 

The two following letters will show what Lee experienced in 
leaving the United States army. The first is that in which he 
sent in his resignation ; it is addressed to General Scott 


" Arlington, Virginia, April 20th, i86i. 

** General, 

" Since my interview with you on the i8th inst, I have felt 
that I ought not to retain my commission in the army. I there- 
fore tender my resignation, which I trust you will recommend for 
acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the 
"Struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which 
I have devoted all the best years of my life, and all the ability I 

. "During the whole of that time, more than a quarter of a 
century, I have experienced nothing but kindness from my 
superiors, and the most cordial friendship from my comrades. To 
no one, General, have I been so much indebted as to yourself for 
uniform kindness and consideration ; and it has always been my 
ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the 
grave the most grateful recollections of your kindness and con- 
sideration ; and your name and fame will always be dear to me. 

-" Save in defence of my native state, I never desire again to draw 
my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the 
continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and believe me most 
truly yours, 

" R. E. Lee. 

** Lieutenant-General Wingfield Scott, 

** Commanding United States Army.*' 

The next is addressed to his eldest sister, whose husband had 
very pronounced opinions in favour of the North. 

" My dear Sister, 

" I am grieved at my inability to see you, ... I have 
been waiting for a more convenient season^ which has brought to 
many before me deep and lasting regret Now we are in a state 
of war which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state 
of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been 
drawn; and though I recognise no necessity for this state of 


tilings, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for 
redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet, in my own person, I 
had to meet the question whether I should take part against my 
native state. 

" With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty 
and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up 
my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my 
home ; I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, 
and, save in defence of my native state, with the sincere hope that 
my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be 
called on to draw my sword. I know you will blame me ; but 
you must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe I have 
endeavoured to do what I thought right. . . . That God may 
guard and protect you and yours, and shower upon you everlasting 
blessings, is the prayer of your devoted brother, 

" R. E. Lee." 

Colonel Lee*s resignation having been accepted on the 20th of 
April, he immediately went to Richmond, leaving behind the 
beautiful dwelling in which he had passed the best years of his Hfe, 
and which soon was no longer to belong to him.* 

Lee, having ceased to be a member of the United States army, 
was presently offered the place of commander-in-chief of the 
Virginian forces. Although he would not have sought this honour^ 
he did not feel at Uberty to refuse it In answer to the President 
of the Convention assembled at Richmond, Lee thus expresses 
himself : 

" Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Convention. Profoundly 
impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, for which I must say 

♦ Arlington House was pillaged shortly after by the Federals. The beauti- 
ftd Sevres service given by Lafayette to Mrs. Washington, all the relics of 
Washington, the plate, family portraits, library, everything in fact, was taken. 
The family, persistently believing there would be no serious war, had carried 
away scarcely anything. Nothing has been restored since, and the soil has 
become Federal property. 


I was not prepared, I accept the position assigned me by your 
partiality. I would have much preferred your choice had fallen 
upon an abler man. Trusting in Almighty God, an approving 
conscience, and the aid of my fellow citizens, I devote myself to 
the service of my native state, in whose behalf alone will I ever 
again draw my sword." 

There was not a word of blame or reproach in this address for 
the adversaries of Virginia. This constant moderation, this 
absence of rancour, did not fall off in any of his actions or words 
during the continuance of the whole war. His heart bled, his 
soul was saddened, his deep patriotic grief left no place for 
bitterness or anger. 

Installed, at the end of April, in his new office. General Lee 
lost not a moment in putting Virginia in a state of defence. His 
head-quarters were in the buildings of the Richmond Custom 
House ; immense activity prevailed there. From the first, every 
one understood that Virginia, facing, as it did, the Federal capital, 
and constituting the extreme frontier of the new Confederacy, 
would necessarily be the theatre of the war. Its greatness, 
richness, and importance, as the chief of the Southern States, made 
it the principal object of Federal hostility. From all points of 
the Confederacy, therefore, — from Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, 
and Alabama, — convoys of provisions, war-ammunition, aids of all 
kinds, and thousands of men, were directed to Richmond. It was 
for Lee to give form to this confused mass, and the task was 
Herculean. Everything was wanted at once, — arms, cannon, 
powder, drill-instructors. Everything had to be organized : the 
commissariat, the service of provisions, the artillery, the staff. 
The volunteers who daily arrived in great numbers, thus respond- 
ing to the appeal of the Confederate Government, brought devoted 
hearts and strong arms, but were without organization, discipline, 
or arms. To remedy what was lacking, and make these peaceable 
citizens into an effective army, would be the first duty of the new 
commander. He succeeded much more rapidly than could have 


been believed. The troops were organized and equipped, all the 
strategic positions in the territory were occupied and fortified, and 
an unheard of hfe and activity were impressed on all the military 
services. Attention was also given to turning three steamers into 
ships of war. 

On the 1 6th of May, Virginia formally 'entered the Southern 
Confederacy, and the Virginian soldiers were incorporated with 
the Confederate army. Lee passed as general into the service of 
the Confederacy, the third on the list, taking rank after Generals 
Cooper and Sidney Johnston. Generals Joseph E. Johnston and 
Beaiu^egard completed the list of division generals. With that 
extreme modesty which was one of the most notable features of 
his character, Lee never sought opportunities to push himself 
forward, and however trifling the task assigned him, he was always 
happy to obey. Later, during the war, he well expressed his 
guiding sentiment when he said : *' I will accept every position to 
which the country appoints me, and I will do my best in it." Here 
is the secret of all his success. He always did his best, never 
thinking, however trifling might be the thing he undertook, that 
it was too little to be done conscientiously. 

In May, 1861, General Lee was fifty-four years old. All his 
faculties had arrived at their complete development. Of tall 
figure, he had still at that time a carriage somewhat stiff*, owing to 
his miUtary education ; but gradually his appearance changed, 
and gave place to a grave and reflective air, the result of his 
heavy responsibility as commander-in-chief. The rude trials of 
the Civil War had not yet whitened his hair. His moustache 
was black, the rest of his beard close-shaved. His fine clear 
blue eyes, full of sweetness and benevolence, shone beneath his 
black eyebrows. One could not meet his look without loving 
him. His temperance was nearly absolute; he seldom drank 
anything but water, and was completely indifferent as to what he 
ate. Excess had never enfeebled his robust vigour. Grave, 
silent, shut up in himself, he impressed those who saw him for the 

D 2 


first time with the idea that he was a man endued with little 
sensibility. His sincerity, his frankness at all times, his great 
and generous heart, full of honour and candid simplicity, could 
only become known during the war. 

The following letter, addressed to his eldest son, G. W. Custis 
Lee, a little while before the events narrated above, will show the 
degree to which his frankness and freedom from all subterfuge was 
carried : 

" You must study to be frank with the world ; frankness is the 
child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on 
every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right. If a 
friend asks a favour, you should grant it, if it is reasonable ; if not, 
tell him plainly why you cannot ; you will wrong him and wrong 
yourself by equivocation of any kind. Never do a wrong thing 
to make a friend or keep one ; the man who requires you to do 
so, is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly, 
with all your classmates ; you will find it the policy which wears 
best. Above all, do not appear to others what you are not. If 
you have any fault to find with any one, tell him, not others, of 
what you complain ; there is no more dangerous experiment than 
that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and 
another behind his back. We should live, act, and say nothing 
to the injury of any one. It is not only best as a matter of 
principle, but it is the path to peace and honour. 

" In regard to duty, let me, in conclusion of this hasty letter, 
inform you that, nearly a hundred years ago, there was a day 
of remarkable gloom and darkness — still known as "the dark 
day " — a day when the light of the sun was slowly extinguished, 
as if by an eclipse. The legislature of Connecticut was in session, 
and as its members saw the unexpected and unaccountable 
darkness coming on, they shared in the general awe and terror. 
It was supposed by many that the last day — the day of judgment 
— ^had come. Some one, in the consternation of the hour, moved 
an adjournment Then there arose an old Puritan legislator, 


Davenport of Stamford, and said that, if the last day had come, 
he desired to be found at his place, doing his duty, and, therefore, 
moved that candles be brought in, so that the House could 
proceed with its duty. There was quietness in that man's mind, 
the quietness of heavenly wisdom and inflexible willingness to 
obey present duty. Duty, then, is the sublimest word in our 
language. Do your duty in all things, like the old Puritan. You 
cannot do more, you should never wish to do less. Never let 
me and your mother wear one grey hair for any lack of duty on 
your part." 

Lee's greatest glory consisted in this, that he never failed in 
any of these precepts, that he always allowed himself to be guided 
by these wise maxims in the most terrible storms of a troubled 
life, and the most gloomy moments of the civil strife. His mihtary 
glory, however great it may be, yields to that of his having had 
continually before his eyes the accomplishment of his duty as 
the supreme end of his life. He tendered his resignation from 
a sentiment of what was owing to the state in which he was bom ; 
at every step in his career this sentiment was his only guide, and 
when the grand collapse came, and the cause for which he fought 
was crushed, the inward conviction of having done his best took 
away from him the bitterness of defeat, and gave him that 
fearless calm which cannot be contemplated without admiration. 
" Human virtues ought ^ in case of need, to equal human calamities'^ 
were his words when all was lost, when all the minds around him 
bent under the accumulated weight of so much anguish and so 
many disasters. These words could only be uttered by a man 
who had made duty the first object of his life, and who had found 
the only glory worthy of the name in the accomplishment of it. 

There are some persons who think that Lee was mistaken in 
embracing the cause of the South. This objection takes nothing 
from his greatness. What he did he at least regarded as right. 
The old Puritan whom he so much admired was neither calmer 
nor more resolute than he, when the last day of the cause for 


which he struggled came. In the spring of 1865, it was manifest 
to all those who beheld him unshaken in the midst of the 
universal downfall, that his only ambition was " that he might be 
found at his post doing his duty." 

It has been said that he sought to influence other officers of 
the United States army, natives of the South like himself, and so 
cause them to send in their resignation. Nothing can be less 
true. One of his old companions in arms testifies to the contrary 
in the following letter : 

" Immediately after Mr. Lincoln's election, I wrote to him 
(i. e. General Lee) in the effiision of our old friendship, asking 
his advice, and seeking to know what he intended to do. My 
letter was not answered. We could not help being struck with 
this fact, that the scrupulous reserve which he always maintained 
in the discussion of political affairs, or the rigid exactness which 
he showed in fulfilling his military duties, had never been greater 
than in this moment of solemn crisis." 





Before pursuing this recital further, let us say a few words on the 
relative forces of the two adversaries in the great Civil War of 1861. 
According to the official census of i860, the states and terri- 
tories of the North contained a population of 22,877,000, in 
which were included some hundreds of thousands of negroes. 

According to the same census, the population of the Con- 
federate States was only 8,733,000, of whom 3,664,000 were 
negroes, so that, after deducting these from both sides, there 
remain in round figures 5,000,000 whites to uphold the struggle 
against 22,000,000. In these calculations we have taken no 
account of Kentucky and Missouri as Confederate States, inas- 
much as the North occupied their territories, and made use of 
their resources, during the whole war. To be exact, we must 
remember that, after the month of May, 1862, the Northern 
armies were masters of the centre and west of Tennessee, nearly 
all Louisiana, part of Florida, the coasts of North and South 
Carolina, and the east and north of Virginia. The number of the 
inhabitants of the South who, for this reason, could not contribute 
to the support of the Confederate cause, may be estimated at 
1,200,000. The South, therefore, during the greater part of the 
war, had only 3,800,000 whites to contend against 22,000,000 of 
the North. The neighbouring territories, beyond the frontiers of 
the Confederacy, furnished, it is true, some combatants to the 


Southern cause, over and above the number already mentioned ; 

but there was no reliance for material resources to be placed on 

districts in the power of the enemy. Indeed, material resources 

were still more disproportionate than population. The region 

which formed the Confederate States may be styled a country of 

plantations, producing cotton, tobacco, and rice, rather than an 

agricultural country, properly so called, producing com, cattle, 

wool, horses, and everything which contributes to the maintenance 

of large armies, as in the North. The Northern part of the 

United States had the advantage also in the extent of its , 


commerce, and the development of its manufactures. Everything 
which formerly had been in common, the army, the navy, the 
arsenals, the taxes, — in a word, the government, — remained with 
the North. The South had, therefore, .while it fought, to create 
everything ab ovo. 

There is an error to be rectified which consists in believing 
that a people, inhabiting a large country, finds in the forests, 
rivers, mountains, and especially in the vast spaces which hostile 
armies have to traverse, advantages against an invader — advan- 
tages which compensate for every other inferiority. This argu- 
ment, as far as regards the Confederates, is utterly inapplicable. 
These apparent advantages were completely neutralised by the 
circumstances under which the war was carried on, and the 
geographical configuration of the country. At the commence- 
ment the invader had at his disposal numerous railways, 
drawing distant places nearer together, and facilitating the trans- 
port of provisions and war-material, no matter of what weight or 
bulk. Whatever might be done to destroy the iron ways, or 
render them useless to the Federals, they, having under their 
command a multitude of workmen, skilful engineers, machines 
and materials without limit, repaired the damage without delay. 
So that an invading army, as it advanced, repaired the railways, 
and made use of them to bring its base of operations, so to speak, 
quite to its rearguard. The cause of the greatest embarrassments 


to an army which invades a hostile country was thus, in this case, 

But what contributed most to snatch from the South the 
advantages which its vast territory would have been able to give, 
was the superiority which the North enjoyed at sea. All the navy 
remained to it. The South, a district of planters, had not the 
same resources as the North, a district of manufacturers and 
sSailors. Hence the extreme facihty with which the latter multi- 
pUed its ships and means of attack by water. It was not difficult 
for it to establish a blockade more and more effective, which 
deprived the Confederates of all succour from the foreigner. The 
Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, forming two of the Southern 
boundaries, constituted a part, one might say, of the Northern 
territory, and furnished the. Federals every facility for assailing the 
Confederacy. Let the reader imagine Bavaria attacked simul- 
taneously on its four sides by Austria, Switzerland, and the other 
German States, all obeying the same will, and he will have some 
idea of the position of the Confederate States, with a population 
less than that of Bavaria, but with a territory infinitely more vast 
to defend, invaded by an enemy having two double bases of 
operation, at right angles to one another ; whence the result, that 
whatever point of support a Confederate array might have, in 
defending one of its frontiers, its line of operations must neces- 
sarily be exposed to a flank attack from a Federal force coming to 
surprise it 

Add to this that the Confederate territory was intersected by 
rivers, often navigable for large ships, some flowing into the sea, 
which was in the power of the Federals, others communicating 
directly with the territory of the North, a resource which freed 
the invasion from all ordinary difficulties in other places and 
circumstances, especially when it was proved that the land- 
batteries could no longer close the passage of the rivers to iron- 
clad steamers. Thus the Federal steamers were able to pass in 
front of the forts constructed on the Mississippi with a view to the 


defence of New Orleans, Memphis, and Vicksburg, sustaining 
their fire, it is true, but without any great damage. These towns, 
therefore, were at the mercy of the invader. Not only did the 
districts bordering on these rivers, and the towns on their banks, 
become the prey of the enemy, but the rivers themselves served 
as bases of operation. No Confederate army was thenceforward 
sure that it would not see the Federals masters of one of 
these rivers, and consequently at a new and unforeseen point of 

It is thus explained why, the South being on the defensive, 
most of the Confederate successes had no permanent results. 
Even before the fiercest part of the struggle, after the month of 
May, 1862, all the rivers (except a small portion of the Mississippi 
between Vicksburg and Port Hudson), were in the power of the 
Federals, and all the advantages resulting from extent of territory 
or vast distances to be traversed had, as regards the South, 
become illusory. 

Lastly, let us compare the number of soldiers whom the two 
belligerent powers were able to bring into the field. The report 
of the Adjutant-General of the United States proves that the 
North, during the war, employed by land 2,530,000 combatants. 
General Shanks, who has compiled a statistical work on this war, 
estimates the number only at 2,335,951 men, of whom 83,944 
were officers (nine of these were negroes), 2,073,112 white 
soldiers, and 178,895 negroes; 9,314 officers, 251,722 white 
soldiers, and 33,379 negroes fell on the Federal side. 

In the North, all the able-bodied population fit to serve, but 
not under arms, had been enrolled, and the number of these 
enrolments was 2,7'84,ooo. 

A curious fact to be noticed, whence arose the large number 
of mercenaries who served in the Federal ranks, is, that if the 
North had not had foreigners in her armies, nearly half of the' 
whole population fit for service (2,530,000 as against 2,784,000,) 
would have been imder her standards. 


The number of volunteers disbanded at the end of the war, 
according to a table compiled with the greatest care, amounted 
to 1,034,000. The greatest number of combatants that the 
Federal government had in its service at a given moment was 

Five hundred horses or mules perished per day; 1,080 steamers, 
on the sea or by the rivers, served for the conveyance of the 
Northern armies, at a cost of 120,000 dollars per day; 8,000 
cannons and 12,000,000 rifles were distributed among the Federals 
during the war. 

To these figures, already formidable, must be added the regular 
navy of the United' States; 126,553 sailors or marines served on 
the water, without counting the workmen and others employed 
in the dockyards and arsenals. On the 5 th of December, 
1864, the number of the United States ships of war was 559 
steamers (of which 7 1 were iron-clads) and 112 sailing-vessels : 
total, 671. 

Now let us glance at the Confederate armies. All the levies 
made by the South throughout the whole duration of the war only 
amounted to 660,000 men — a number very inferior to that of the 
combatants present under the Northern flags at any given moment. 
The total of the Southern levies, therefore, never reached above a 
quarter of those of the North, which would give us an average of 
165,000 soldiers under arms at any one time. 

If we take into account the fact, that a large number of 
Confederate recruits came from districts permanently occupied by 
the enemy, where runaways and deserters could not be pursued, 
we shall be justified in concluding that the number of Confederate 
forces present under arms at a given moment was necessarily 
inferior to that of the levies ; but thanks to the patriotism of the 
Southerners, there was little of this, and in May, 1864, the South 
could put in line 264,000 combatants against the 970,000 whom, 
at that date, Mr. Lincoln opposed to them. She could not, 
however, possibly mobilize such a great number of men so easily 


as the North. Her frontier was as extended ; it must be protected ; 
regard being had to their relative forces, the South was obUged 
to reserve a greater proportion for garrisons : whence the result, 
that General Grant could put in the field 620,000 men in May, 
1864, while Mr. Davis had only 125,000 men to oppose him, 
counting all the different armies. 

This disproportion of the forces will be still more strikingly 
realized, by comparing the number of combatants present on both 
sides, in the different principal battles. The official reports of 
Generals MacDowell and Beauregard showed, that at the first 
battle of Manassas, the final effort which decided the victory 
was attempted by 6,500 Confederates against 20,000 Federals, 
among whom were several regiments of regular troops. At 
Sharpsburg, in 1862, Lee's 33,000 Confederates repulsed 80,000 

At Chancellorsville, Lee and his 50,000 soldiers defeated 
General Hooker at the head of 108,000 men. In the " Wilder- 
ness," General Lee had only 50,000 Confederates to oppose 
140,000 men under General Grant, and, without receiving any 
reinforcement, he continued to hold his own against the Federal 
army, increased, the losses which the Confederate fire made it 
undergo only excepted, by 60,000 new troops. At the battle of 
Winchester, in the autumn of 1864, Sheridan gained a dearly- 
bought success over General Early only by cnishing 12,000 
Confederates under the weight of his own 50,000 soldiers. In 
the final struggle, Lee's 33,000 soldiers were not dislodged from 
Petersburg and Richmond till after their adversaries had been 
successively increased to 180,000 men, and the remnant of Lee's 
truly heroic army did not finally surrender to this multitude till after 
it had been reduced to less than 8,000 bayonets. The number of 
27,500 soldiers made prisoners at Appomatox came firom this, that 
20,000 famished stragglers and others on detached service profited 
by what they believed to be a definitive peace, to surrender 
themselves to the conquerors. 


Thus the blockade cruelly paralyzed the South. For Mr. 
Davis would have been able to negotiate loans in Europe, by the 
aid of the abundant harvest of cotton and tobacco of 186 1, as well 
as those of 1862 and 1863, diminished in bulk but increased in 
value, and to obtain also, perhaps, the recognition of the South by 
foreign powers. But in 1864, the cultivation of cotton was 
obliged to yield to that of cereals, in order that the inhabitants 
might have something to eat. Besides, the blockade, in the end, 
had become so effective, that the feebler of the two adversaries in 
this unequal strife was, so to speak, without arms and without 
nourishment, as if all its other disadvantages had not already been 

One last remark, which has also its importance. The Con- 
federacy never had under its standards a good, solid, and well- 
organized army. Time failed it, and officers endued with know- 
ledge were necessarily wanting. The Southerners, certainly very 
brave, had no experience in war. Since that of 181 2, two genera- 
tions had passed away amid the profoundest peace. Few men are 
bom soldiers. For the greater number, that incessant self-denial, 
that cultivation of duty, that acquaintance with details, that care, 
that self-control, that faculty of commanding, that understanding 
of the art of attack and defence, which, joined to personal courage, 
constitute a good officer, all are acquired in a rude school. Ex- 
perience in war alone can give these great military virtues. The 
Confederacy had, in a very short space of time, to organize and 
discipline a number of men greater, in proportion to its population, 
than any other nation of modem times. 

It was necessary to employ thousands of officers, very few of 
whom had previously seen service. Throughout the whole of the 
country, not the tenth part of the knowledge wanted for the in- 
stmction and organization of armies was to be found. The results 
obtained argue much in favour of the military aptitude of the 
Southem people. For want of instmction, and of officers capable 
of giving it, the Confederate regiments seldom preserved their 


line in a charge. On the contrary, they suffered from the fire of 
their own men. 

The officers were never sufficiently masters of their soldiers to 
prevent them, when bullets were whistling past, from immediately 
answering the enemy's fire. In the best Confederate regiments, 
in the midst of a conflict, the ardent and burning inclination of 
the soldiers was obeyed rather than the commands of the officers. 

This imperfect discipline corresponded also with the critical 
position of public affairs. New recruits were often obliged to join 
their regiments under pressing urgency, before they had even 
learnt their drill. Scattered about in different corps, these young 
soldiers, wholly given up to the duties of an active camp-life, 
getting supplies for long marches, mounting guard in the outposts, 
or crossing bayonets on the field of battle, could no longer find 
leisure to learn it. They did not even go into winter quarters, for 
campaigns lasted winter and summer. Want of discipline and the 
ignorance of the soldiers were the cause of the officers being ex- 
posed beyond measure, so that, in time, the best of them were 
captured or slain. The principle of election of the officers was 
the origin of the evil — the source of a relaxation of discipline. 

This is why the Confederate armies, in spite of the heroic 
bravery of which they gave so many proofs, could scarcely, from 
their want of discipline and instruction, pretend to the name of 
regular armies. 

General Lee, speaking of the great advantages which military 
instruction and the unity of action resulting from it give to soldiers, 
made apparent, in connection with the two armies then in presence 
of each other, the superiority which the Confederates would have 
over their adversaries^ in spite of their small relative number, if 
their organization and discipline were what they ought to be : 
" But," added he, after a moment's silence, with a sadness very 
easy to understand, " I cannot give this instruction to my army, 
for the enemy detains my officers in his prisons." 

The Federals had none of these difficulties to overcome. The 



old army of the United States served them as a nucleus for the or- 
ganization of their troops, most of the officers remaining in their 
service. Besides, they could legally draw from Europe mercenaries 
without number. As the aggressors, they could wait till their new 
recruits were sufficiently drilled, and choose, for attacking the 
South, the moment which most suited them; while the Con- 
federates, not having the same freedom, must go to the encounter 
whether ready or not. Further, the invaders, having at their dis- 
posal a much more numerous population, as well as the whole 
world to recruit from, were always sure of having enough men 
under their flags, since their conflict was with an adversary whose 
forces only amounted to a quarter of their own. 

It is a singular fact to be remarked, that the South furnished the 
North with legions of negroes nearly as numerous as the entire 
total of the Confederate armies. 

The Minister of War (Federal) acknowledges in his official 
report having disbanded, at the end of the war, 170,000 negroes, 
who were mostly old Southern slaves. In justification of the dif- 
ferent statements which have been made, we shall not be charged 
with exaggeration, if we fix at 500,000 the number of soldiers of 
foreign origin who served in the Federal armies. In the Con- 
federate prisons half the captives were foreigners. Some brigades, 
like that of General Meagher, were composed of Irishmen, and 
whole divisions (that of Blenker, for instance) of Germans. Thus, 
then, to struggle against the 3,800,000 Southerners (men, women, 
and children), 200,000 negroes and 500,000 foreign mercenaries 
must be added* to the 22,000,000 Northerners. 

As this work is not written with the intention of recriminating 
against the North, and as it has not for its end to re-open old 
wounds, we shall say nothing of the systematic manner in which 
certain Northern generals undertook to devastate entire districts 
in the South, in order to starve out those who were so hard to con- 
quer. It was an odd way of making their brothers love the Union 


War is a cruel thing. Apparently there are but two ways ot 
carrying it on. At all times there have been burning, sack, and 
pillage. Let us hope that the intention of the Federal Government, 
in authorizing such devastations, was to have done more promptly 
with the horrors of war, and that the chiefs who accepted such a 
mission reluctantly fulfilled it. 




The time of hesitation, skirmishing, uncertainty, had passed : it 
was for the cannon to speak. On the 17th of April, 1861, the 
feeble detachments of Federal troops stationed to guard the 
different arsenals and forts on the Virginian territory retired. The 
military arsenal of Norfolk, at the mouth of the James River, 
(so called in honour of King James I.), was given to the flames. 
Nevertheless, the Virginians arrived in time to save a great 
amount of war-material, as well as a great many ships and muni- 
tions, and a considerable quantity of artillery. Fortress Monroe, 
situated on a small island at some distance from the coast, alone 
remained in the power of the Federals. This fortress commanded 
the entrance of the James River. On the other hand, divers 
corps of Virginian troops were placed in such a manner as to 
cover the points which the Northern forces had power to menace. 

This country, over which for four years all the horrors of war 
were about to be unchained, was, in 1861, a charming district, 
peopled by a race of generous and hospitable men. Peace and 
prosperity, joined to upright and patriarchal manners, somewhat 
behindhand if you like, had made it a comer of the world where 
the white race and the black race lived peaceably together, 
needful to each other, and insensibly bringing about the gradual 
emancipation of slaves by those thousands of daily relationships 
which blot out prejudices and engender sympathy. 

In 1 86 1, Virginia, which Sir Walter Raleigh had so named, in 



1584, in honour of Queen Elizabeth, included an area of 55,958 
square miles, a little more than one-fourth the surface of France. 
From east to west its extreme length was 326 miles, and from 
north to south the average distance was 193 miles. 

On looking at a map of Virginia, one is struck with all that 
nature has done to . render it rich and prosperous. Very easy 
of access, it presents a vast plain, little broken except near the 
mountains. Numerous rivers, with their affluents, offer so many 
means for penetrating to the heart of the country. The Potomac, 
with a course of 367 miles, serves as a boundary to the north, 
through two-thirds of its extent, between Maryland and Virginia. 
The James has a length of 280 miles. The York, Rappahannock, 
Pamunkey, and Rapidan are deep rivers, which, rising to the 
west, in the AUeghanies, all flow towards the east, not very far 
apart, and fall into the Atlantic by large mouths. 

The neighbouring zone of seaboard resembles the rest of the 
southern coasts of the United States. The Atlantic coasts are 
low and sandy; marshes where the pitch-pine abounds and 
engenders pestilential fevers. There are bays and creeks in- 
numerable, but life is wanting : there is but one harbour worthy 
of the name — Norfolk — and very little commerce ; for the rest, 
the coast is of small extent, compared with the area of the 
Virginian territory. This narrow belt once passed the country 
becomes very healthy. 

The soil is fertile, although dusty, (i.e. light ^ and even stony 
where the first undulations of the Alleghanies appear ; but, on the 
other hand, along the rivers there are tracts of alluvial soil of 
great fertility, where cotton, maize, and tobacco grow to per- 
fection. The inhabitants are occupied in breeding cattle, felling 
timber in the widely extending woods, and agriculture on a very 
grand scale. At Richmond there were already a large number of 
arts and manufactures ; coal and iron abound in Upper Virginia, 
and several blast-furnaces were established there. 

About 185 miles from the sea the vapour-clad outline of the 


Blue Ridge, a long line of mountains, is seen. The Alleghany 
Mountains, divided into two principal parallel chains from north 
to south, one the Blue Ridge, the other, more to the west, pre- 
serving the name of Alleghanies, cut Virginia into two equal parts, 
called, one the Eastern district, that which extends from the 
Atlantic to the mountains, the other the Western district, which 
extends from the mountains to Ohio and the borders of Kentucky. 

Between these two ranges, parallel to the mountains, run long 
valleys, often very wide. The soil here is richer than in any other 
part of the state. It is the region known as the Valley of Virginia. 
It extends northwards to the Potomac. This spot, besides being 
one of the most fertile, is also one of the most picturesque of 
North America. The eye, wearied with the monotony of unbroken 
plains, rests with pleasure on the varied outline of the Blue Ridge 
or Alleghanies in the distance, rising to the sky. With change of 
place and level there is also a change of aspect. Far away 
extend these laughing valleys, which, more than any other 
American scene, remind one of the landscapes of old Europe. 

The population of this part of Virginia is purely English, inter- 
mingled here and there with Scottish blood, settled in the country 
in the early days of the colony. These men, honourable and 
frank, devoted to agriculture, always in the saddle, inured to 
fatigue, tall, strong, simple in their habits, wearing wide-brimmed 
felt sombreros, riding-boots, and gloves with beaver-skin backs, 
like the cavaliers of the time of Charles I. ; these men, Virginians 
above all things, furnished Jackson and Lee their most valiant 

The belt beyond the Alleghanies, stretching towards the Ohio, 
belongs to the Mississippi basin. It is quite another country, 
higher and colder than Eastern Virginia. It produces cereals, is 
rich in ore, and covered with thick timber. 

Winter rains cover the plains of Eastern Virginia with deep 
reddish sticky mud; the roads become impassable. When 
the heat comes, deep cracks and bottomless ruts replace the 

E 2 


liquid mud, and render the maintenance of the roads very 

The climate, very warm in summer, becomes, in winter, rainy, 
and, in the part near the mountains, it is as cold as in the north 
of France. Snow falls ever3rwhere in the Alleghanies after the 
month of November. 

The state was divided into 119 counties or communes. The 
number of inhabitants amounted, in 186 1, to 1,569,083 souls, of 
whom 490,887 were negroes, and of them 54,333 were free. 
There remained, therefore, 1,078,196 whites. It was with such a 
feeble population that Virginia prepared herself for the struggle 
pro aris etfocis. 

Harper's Ferry, at the entrance of the Shenandoah Valley, the 
beginning of the great Valley of Virginia, was guarded by General 
Joseph Johnston, an officer of the old United States army. 
General Beauregard, a Frenchman of Louisiana, was stationed at 
Manassas Junction, the meeting-place of three railways, coming 
from the north, south, and west, — ^that is to say, from Washington, 
Richmond, and the Virginian Valley. This most important place 
was in the plain, and permitted any one who was master of it, 
either to block the Richmond road, or march on Washington, 
only 35 miles off, or, in the face of superior forces, to retire to 
the west, through the Manassas Pass, into the valley. General 
Huger, a descendant of the refugee Huguenots, also belonging to 
the old army, held the command at Norfolk. All the approaches 
to this town, and all the important points at the entrance of the 
James River, were carefully fortified. The Confederate Govern- 
ment was transported to Richmond, which thus became the 
capital of the new republic. Volunteers poured in from the other 
states, and presently the number of troops gathered in Virginia 
was considerable. In West Virginia, the command was entrusted 
to General Gamett, who had just displayed great activity as 
adjutant to General Lee. It was for him to assemble and drill 
the volunteers 


On its side, the Federal Government did not deceive itself as 
to the gravity of the struggle which was impending. Cxeneral 
Scott, who had the chief control in military affairs, was too old a 
soldier to commit the notable blunder of despising his enemy, 
especially as the Southern armies had for their guide the man 
whose talents he had for so long a time appreciated. 

On May 3rd, President Lincoln made a new appeal for 40,000 
volunteers, ten supplementary regiments for the regular army, and 
18,000 sailors. These forces, added to those already in existence, 
placed at the disposal of the Government 150,000 men. The 
country promptly answered this appeal The Federal Govern- 
ment plan was to send a strong body of troops into the Mississippi 
Valley and occupy it. A second army was to take up a position 
in Kentucky, and there stop all Southern proclivities, while a 
third would march straight on Richmond. These measures, 
suppleniented by an effective blockade, would not be long, it was 
thought, in crushing the rebellion. In Virginia an attack was to 
be made on four sides simultaneously ; in the east, relying on 
Fortress Monroe, an ascent of the Peninsula would be made to 
the capital (all the country situated between the rivers James 
and York, comprising five or six counties, is called the Peninsula). 
On the north-east a start was to take place from Alexandria, 
opposite Washington, passing through Manassas; on the north, 
one ascending the Shenandoah Valley from the Potomac ; and 
lastly, on the north-west, it was intended to defile at Staunton, 
into the great Virginian Valley. 

These four movements were to be made simultaneously. Rich- 
mond was the point of re-union. This town once taken, the 
assembled forces would have nothing more to do but co-operate 
with those occupying Kentucky and the Mississippi Valley, in 
order to insure the definitive triumph of the Federal arms. Such 
was the magnificent programme which was to counteract and 
valorously upset the lieutenants of the Southern commander-in- 


Some skirmishes had taken place in the month of June, 1861. 
On the 3rd, Colonel Porterfield, sent into the west of the state to 
assemble volunteers, had been defeated at Philippi by a Federal 
corps. But the first combat of any importance was at Great 
Bethel on June loth. Five thousand Federals ascended the 
Peninsula, starting from Fortress Monroe. They assaulted an 
entrenched camp not far from Yorktown, where 1800 Confede- 
rates, with 6 pieces of artillery, awaited them. The Federals 
were obliged to turn back. This affair, insignificant in itself, 
acquires importance when we remember that it was the first 
combat in which both parties had been able to measure their 
strength, and that, if Colonel Magruder had been beaten, the 
safety of Richmond would have been compromised. Bethel was 
soon followed by other feats of arms in the Valley of Virginia, 
between the Confederate Johnston and the Federal Patterson, the 
defeat of the Confederate Colonel Pegram at Richmountain in the 
west of the state, and the death of General Garnett, during his 
retreat after the battle of Laurel Bridge, also in the west of 

On July 1 6th, the principal Northern army, consisting of 55,000 
infantry, 9 regiments of cavalry, and 49 pieces of artillery, issued 
from Alexandria, and advanced some hours* march, to a water- 
course named Bull's Run, behind which the Confederate army, 
under the command of Beauregard, was posted. Johnston, warned 
of this movement, succeeded in stealing away from his adversary 
Patterson, marched night and day, and joined his colleague on 
July 20th. All the Southern army, on the morning of the 21st of 
July, only amounted to 31,431 men, and 55 cannons. That same 
day the Federal army attempted to force the passage of BulFs 
Run, but disorder spreading in its ranks, it was obliged to fall 
back on Washington. Its retreat was soon changed into a defeat. 
General JohnSton came and camped in sight of the United States 

Let us return for a moment to the campaign in West Virginia. 


Colonel Porterfield, who had been sent there by General Lee to 
raise recruits and organise a centre of resistance against the 
Federals, soon became aware of the little haste manifested by the 
inhabitants in responding to his appeal, and that that part of the 
state where the Northern element, introduced from the neigh- 
bouring States of Ohio and Pennsylvania, prevailed, would readily 
be gained over to the Federal cause unless reinforcements were 

The surprise of his camp at Philippi soon after, hastened the 
despatch of a reinforcement of 5000 men, under the orders of 
General Garnett. Hardly had the latter had time to post himself 
at Laurel Hill, a position which commanded the high road of com- 
munication between the west and the remaining portion of Virginia, 
when General MacClellan, charged by the Federal Government with 
the military command pf Ohio, resolved to drive back Garnett 
beyond the Alleghanies, towards Virginia proper. On the nth of 
July, General Rosencranz surprised and defeated a Confederate 
corps, ordered by Garnett to protect his line of retreat The 
latter was obliged to abandon his artillery, and leave the beaten 
roads, in order to march across the mountains. Vigorously 
pursued, he lost many prisoners, and perished himself. This 
initiative of MacClellan decided the lot of West Virginia. Al- 
though the debris of General Gamett's column might have been 
able to rally to the east of the mountains, and there join reinforce- 
ments come from Richmond, the Federals never slackened their 
hold, and the district beyond the hills remained in their power. 

The Confederate General Wise alone, with a small corps, still 
held out in this region. He also retired presently before the 
victorious MacClellan to Lewisburg, where General Floyd, with 
2000 or 3000 men, joined him; but a want of understanding 
between the two Confederate officers rendered all their operations 

After Gametfs death, Lee was sent to the western frontier. 
He there assembled 10,000 men, including what remained of 


Gametf s column, badly armed, poorly clad, and many of them 
without shoes. The roads were in a deplorable state ; rain fell 
incessantly; they sunk up to their knees in a thick mud; the 
means of transport were wanting, as well as victuals and forage. 

During the months of August and September there were only 
some unimportant skirmishes. The Federals were strongly posted 
at Cheat Mountain, awaiting an attack. After having in vain 
attempted to turn the position, Lee, who always tried as much as 
possible to husband the blood of his soldiers, retired. Under the 
circumstances, he judged, with much reason, from a practical 
point of view, that if the Federals continued to occupy their 
impregnable position in the mountain, he would gain nothing by 
obtaining a barren success, dearly achieved, probably, by the 
sacrifice of many of his own men. The result of the campaign, 
however, was to arrest the enemy's march so completely, that 
from that moment for a year no further progress was made in the 

Meanwhile Lee, warned of the dangerous position of Floyd and 
Wise, against whom the combined forces of Rosencranz and Cox 
were advancing, resolved to march on Lewisburg, and give battle 
to the Federals before the autumn rains made the roads im- 
practicable. He rallied the troops of Wise and Floyd on the 22nd 
of September, and posted himself strongly at Sewell Mountain. 
The two adversaries had under them equal forces, nearly 15,000 

It seemed that at length a serious engagement was about to end 
this barren and indecisive campaign. The outposts were in sight 
of each other, and not a day passed without some aflfair or 
skirmish. Waiting to be attacked, Lee held himself on the 
defensive, and thus the two generals remained in each other's 
presence for a fortnight. Suddenly, on the 6th of October, 
Rosencranz decamped during the night, and retired towards the 
west. The state of the roads and rivers rendered all pursuit 
impossible. Winter came rapidly, and it was decided to abandon 


this part of the country, and transport the Confederate forces to a 
more important scene of action. 

General Lee returned to Richmond in November, and the 
trifling success of this campaign drew down upon him some 
severe criticisms on the part of his fellow citizens, too im- 
patient to have much hope in him. Like Washington before Boston 
in 1776, he might have said: "I know the sad position which 
I occupy j I know I am expected to do great things." But, like 
Washington, he was ready to sacrifice his reputation rather than 
squ^der away men's lives in a useless attempt to keep a hostile 
district When one reflects on the obstacles of every kind with 
which he had to contend, the sympathy of the inhabitants with 
the Northern cause, who betrayed, for the benefit of the enemy, 
all his movements, the difficulties of transport in so primitive a 
country, it is easy to comprehend his want of success. A Uttle 
after his arrival Lee had reported that it was not for him to take, 
the offensive. The district was not favourably disposed to the 
Southern cause. It was difficult to find provisions, the enemy 
being master of the railway from Baltimore to Ohio, and of the 
river of this name ; both served as safe bases of operation. The 
Confederates, on their side, had only impassable roads, no 
railway, and no river which could be useful to them. 

" He came back,*' said ex-President Davies, " carrying the 
heavy weight of defeat, and unappreciated by the people whom he 
served ; for they could not know, as I knew, that if his plans 
and orders had been carried out, the result would have been 
victory rather than retreat They did not know it ; for I would 
not have known it, if he had not breathed it in my ear, only at my 
earnest request, and begging that nothing be said about it The 
clamour which then arose followed him when he went to South 
Carolina, so that it became necessary to write a letter to the 
governor of that state, telling him what manner of man he was. 
Yet through all this, with a magnanimity rarely equalled, he stood 
in silence, without defending himself, or allowing others to defend 



him ; for he was unwilling to offend any one who was wearing a 
sword, and striking blows for the Confederacy." 

The Richmond Government confided to Lee, on his return, 
the care of fortifying Charleston, the capital of South Carolina, 
situated on the sea, and offering an opportunity of attack, some 
day or other, to the Federal ships. He passed the winter in 
. raising redoubts at the most exposed points of the coast, and this 
work was executed with so much judgment and ability, that it was 
principally because of these redoubts that the enemy's efforts in 
this locality subsequently gained so little success. 

It was from Charleston that he wrote, on the ist of January, 
1862, the following letter to one of his daughters : — 

" My dear Daughter, 

" Having distributed such poor Christmas gifts as I had to 
those around me, I have been looking for something for you. 
Trifles even are hard to get these war-times, and you must not, 
therefore, expect more. . • . I send you also some sweet 
violets that I gathered for you this morning while covered with 
dense white frost, whose crystals glittered in bright sun-like 
diamonds, and formed a brooch of rare beauty and sweetness, 
which could not be fabricated by the expenditure of a world of 
money. Yet how little will it purchase. But see how God pro- 
vides for our pleasure in every way. May He guard and preserve 
you for me, my dear daughter. Among the calamities of war, the 
hardest to bear, perhaps, is the separation of families and friends. 
Yet all must be endured to accomplish our independence, and 
maintain our self-government In my absence from you, I have 
thought of you very often, and regretted I could do nothing for 
your comfort Your old home, if not destroyed by our enemies, 
has been so desecrated that I cannot bear to think of it I should 
have preferred it to have been wiped from the earth, its beautiful 
hill sunk, and its sacred trees buried, rather than to have been 
degraded by the presence of those who revel in the ill they do for 


their own selfish purposes. You see what a poor sinner I am, and 
how unworthy to possess what was given me ; for that reason it 
has been taken away. I pray for a better spirit, and that the 
hearts of our enemies may be changed. In your houseless con- 
dition, I hope you will make yourself contented and useful. 
Occupy yourself in aiding those more helpless than yoursel£ 

. . . . Think always of your father, 

" R. E. Lee." 

In the spring of 1862, the reverses which the Confederate 
cause had sustained made the urgency of centralizing the military 
power apparent Congress passed a bill creating the rank of 
general commanding-in-chief. But the attributes of this new 
generalissimo were utterly failing in clearness, as may be seen in 
the following order of the day which summoned Lee to Rich- 
mond. It was on him that, in spite of the opposition of some 
prejudiced or timid minds, the choice of President Davis fell. 

"War Department, Richmond, March 13th, 1862. 

"General Orders, No. 14. 

" General Robert E. Lee is assigned to duty at the seat of 

government, and, under the direction of the President, is charged 

with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the 


" By command of the Secretary of War, 

"S. Cooper, 

" Adjutant and Inspector-General." 

This is the proper place to protest against the systematic dis- 
paragement of which the ex-President of the Confederate States 
has been the object. He has been accused of jealousy of General 
Lee. On the contrary, it was Mr. Davis who warmly undertook 
Lee*s defence at this time, when he was in disfavour, and who 
contributed more than any one to call him to the high position in 
which he rendered such signal services. 


Hardly had the new commander-in-chief assumed his office 
before a change began to be felt. A new life was communicated 
to the Government, and from the moment when his firm will 
presided over the march of affairs, the military situation began to 
wear a less dismal aspect. If his counsel had been always listened 
to, we should, perhaps, have been able to trace a very different 
account to that which will be unfolded before our eyes. 

In his new position, before even he had had time to act, his 
popularity returned, owing chiefly to the kindness and courtesy 
with which he received all demands preferred to him. He could 
not, however, long preserve this situation. Important events called 
him elsewhere into a more active sphere. His new duties in it 
became so absorbing, that he was soon obliged to beg the President 
to relieve him of the functions of commander-in-chief of all the 
Confederate forces, his mihtary occupations in Virginia taking up 
all his time. 

Beauregard's victory at Manassas had inspired the Confederates 
with such confidence, that they did not doubt for a single instant 
but that the North had received a mortal blow. The newspapers 
ridiculously exaggerated the importance of the Federal check. 
Many people took no pains to reflect that the success at BulFs 
Run was only temporary, that the army which was there beaten 
was composed of raw recruits, entirely inexperienced, under 
incapable officers, and they persisted in ignoring the extraordinary 
efforts the North was making to repair its losses. Opportunities 
to be better informed on these points were not, however, wanting. 
Northern newspapers, full of facts, recitals, details, all relative to 
the preparations going on on a grand scale, easily found way into 
the country, and the Southern newspapers hastened to copy them. 
All persons who came from the North confirmed this impression. 
Nevertheless but a few men, such as Lee, Johnstoi^ and others, 
alone recognised the vital importance of the struggle in which they 
were engaged, and they ceased not to warn the Southern people 
against their foolish imprudence. 


President Davis, under the late President of the United States, 
had been Minister of War at Washington. His antecedents and 
character do not permit us to believe that he also could be deceived 
as to the situation. In the South, as in the North, there was a 
horror at the idea of conscription. It was only, therefore, in the 
last extremity that the Government decided to have recourse to 
it This arbitrary measure was so little in harmony with all the 
traditions of the English race, that such a hesitation on the part of 
the President, Ministers, and Congress, may be well conceived. 
Nothing is more natural than that Lee and his lieutenants should, 
from the first, have counselled it Their point of view was 
different Their experience was one of camp Hfe, of the httle 
confidence which can be placed in volunteers, badly paid and 
badly fed, who have obeyed a patriotic impulse, but are restrained 
neither by esprit de corps ^ nor discipHne, nor hard necessity. 

Thus what they had foreseen happened. The first moment of 
enthusiasm past, when reverses, inevitable in a war which extended 
over so vast an area, came in their turn, volunteers ceased to 
appear. Prizes the most elevated ceased to attract them. 

Another error to be remarked is the immense development given 
to the line of defence. In the spring of 1862, the Federals had 
touched the border of Kentucky. The Confederate army of the • 
West was thrown back behind the river Tennessee, and on the 
Atlantic coast the Northern troops had got possession of the very 
important positions of Port Royal, and Roanoke Island, in the 
Carolinas. Everywhere, except in North Virginia, where no 
encounter had taken place since the last campaign, victory attended 
the standard? of the North. 

We can imagine, while blaming, the hesitation of the Richmond 
Government To concentrate all civil and military powers in the 
hands of a dictator would have been much the most practical and 
effective step, but in its own opinion this would have been the 
negation of its own existence. It considered it, on the contrary, to 
be due to honour, whilst accompUshing the deliverance of the 


country, to allow the continuance of self-government, by means of 
a Congress regularly elected, thus changing nothing in parlia- 
mentary manners. Hence troubles and numberless difficulties, — 
results of an ill -defined position. 

Instead of finishing the war, and then thinking how to establish a 
stable and definitive government, the Confederate statesmen wished 
to do both at once. Besides, the Richmond Government took 
very great pains not to wound the susceptibilities of the different 
governments of the Confederate States. This is why, in order not 
to abandon the most exposed states to Federal attacks, it was 
compelled to disseminate its troops over an immense area, re- 
maining on the defensive, when it would have been able, by con- 
centrating them under one direction and in one army, to strike a 
decisive blow. 

However this may be, very few remarkable men showed them- 
selves in the Civil Government, or in the Congress of the South. 
Neither of these bodies rose to the height of the circumstances. 
The want of initiative, the narrowness of political views of which 
the Congress gave proof, the obstinacy with which it opposed the 
enfranchisement of slaves till the last moment, contributed not a 
little to bring about the final catastrophe. It is in the army, among 
its chiefs, that search must be made for examples of rare self- 
denial, patriotic devotion, moral greatness, and talents of the first 

President Davis could not, therefore, in consequence of the 
opposing influences which surrounded him, decide on/oUowing the 
advice which Lee and Johnston ceased not to give him. These 
generals were of opinion that the proper course was to abandon 
the most remote frontiers, and to concentrate the forces of the 
Confederacy on a spot where they would be useful and available at 
any moment 

Scattered at a distance, not supporting each other, they were 
exposed to the assaults of the Federals, who could attack them 
successively one after the other. The system adopted by the 


Government was the more full of risk, because the South was so 
thinly peopled — far more thinly than the North — and it could not 
therefore repair its losses of men. To these arguments the 
partisans of the Government rephed, that if the states of the West 
were abandoned, not only would the prestige of the new republic 
suffer in America and Europe (which was an important matter 
from the point of view of hoped-for intervention), but that entire 
provinces would be lost, whence were drawn com, cattle, and 
soldiers without number ; that support and protection were owing 
to the many secessionists of those states ; and, finally, that the 
situation was not so serious as was supposed. These counsellors 
were not without authority, and many of them were much in- 
terested in upholding the prevailing system, since their estates and 
families were in the provinces it was proposed to abandon, and 
would become the prey of the Federals. The majority in Congress 
shared these sentiments. Consequently the question was decided 
by civil and political considerations against the opinion of the 

The fear of encroaching on the individual rights of the states 
for a long time retarded the adoption of a general law of enhst- 
ment It was not till the Federal troops menaced the capital 
itself that a law of enlistment was passed, in May, 1862. This 
was very imperfect, and stirred up such discontent, that all the 
warm patriotism of the Southern population was necessary to 
support its burden. It would have been better to adopt the plan 
followed later by the Federal Government ; fix the contingent, 
assign each state its quota, and render it responsible for furnishing 
the proportion so assigned. Thus all the odium of the measure 
would fall on the local authorities. 

After the battle of Manassas, or Bull's Run, (July 1861), gained 
by 31,000 Confederates over 55,000 Federals, General Johnston 
assumed the supreme command of the Confederate army of the 
Potomac. The task which he had before him was not easy. 
Undisciplined recruits, whom the easy victory of Manassas had 


demoralized, did not offer very encouraging elements for the 
reorganization of his army. Discipline was not easy to estabUsh, 
the natural explanation of which is that all the officers below the 
rank of brigadier-general were elective. The candidates in favour 
with their comrades too often won votes by closing their eyes to 
infractions of military regulations, which are as necessary to an 
army as air to a human organism. This evil existed during the 
whole war, and exercised immense influence in all the insurmount- 
able obstacles which fettered the operations of the Southern chiefs. 

Nevertheless, in the month of October, 1861, General Johnston 
had succeeded in giving to this confused mass a certain amount 
of organization. All the troops in the neighbourhood of the 
Potomac arriving, whether from the Shenandoah Valley army, 
which Johnston had commanded, or from the army of the Potomac, 
under the orders of Beauregard, were formed into a single army, 
and took the name of the Northern Virginian army. General 
Johnston had the command-in-chief. It occupied a strong position 
on the heights of Centreville. Various corps were detached to 
the banks of the Potomac, where, by the aid of batteries, whose 
fire swept the river, they intercepted all navigation and effectively 
blockaded the Federal capital. 

A division of this army, commanded by General T. J. Jackson* 
was stationed in the Valley of Virginia, which he held against the 
enemy. Another division, under General Holmes, guarded the 
line of the Rappahannock, and formed the rear-guard of the whole 

During the autumn and winter the soldiers had to suffer much, 
chiefly from the dearth of provisions. To other privations was 

* This distinguished officer, whose career was so short and brilliant, was a 
Virginian. A pupil of the Military School at West Point, he served a cam- 
paign in Mexico in 1846 and 1847. Shortly after he left the army. When 
the Civil War broke out he was a simple professor at the Virginian MiUtary 
School, at Lexington. His offer of services having been accepted by the 
Confederate Government, he soon had an opportunity of displaying military 
talents of the first order. 


added a want of clothing and shoes. Johnston consequently had 
been obliged to content himself with remaining on the defensive, 
while yet foreseeing grave inconveniences. His Hnes of com- 
munication with Richmond were reduced to a single railway, one 
road only, which the enemy might at any moment intercept 
Further, all his provisions and war-material had to be carried by a 
most detestable route from Manassas to Centreville. 

It is astonishing, perhaps, that so enterprising a people as the 
Americans did not think of connecting the principal line and 
head-quarters by a temporary railway, as the Allies did in the 
Crimea. But the truth is that iron and rails for a railway were 
precisely what were wanting in the South. In the long run, even 
the repair of the roads had to be neglected, whence it happened 
that all service was performed badly and very slowly, causing 
great delay in the transport of provisions, and intolerable sufferings 
to the unfortunate wounded. 

All the branches of the army were very inadequately furnished 
with capable men, the corps of engineers in particular. An appeal 
had to be made to civil engineers generally in order to fill the 
ranks. The enormous and sudden development which the army 
had taken rendered it necessary here, as elsewhere, to employ men 
who had neither the requisite aptitude nor experience. The staff 
also left much to be desired. The officers of the old United States 
army, who, having been bom in the South, and having embraced its 
cause, ought to have served on the staff, were called to other duties* 
in consequence of the extreme scarcity of officers possessing 
any education and knowledge. It was necessary, therefore, to 
improvise aides-de-camp with what was presented, and during the 
whole war, Lee, Johnston, and other generals had at their disposal 
only a very insufficient number of aides-de-camp, which was an 
immense disadvantage. 

The arms furnished to the soldiers were not always good ; but, 
for the moment, no remedy could be adopted. Those which they 
had could only be procured ^\ith great difficulty, and it was not 



till later, in consequence of important captures, and of deliveries 
of European arms, as well as of the factories and foundries of 
cannon created amid great difficulty by the Confederate Govern- 
ment, that the army was, in the end, better provided in this 

In spite of all these obstacles, the Northern Virginian army, 
in the campaign which opened shortly after, occupied from 
the outset, from the very j&rst blow struck, the place which 
history will always assign it in the account of this memorable 

Few armies more than it, have had the right to be proud of 
themselves ! All the youth of the South entered its ranks, 
and for four years it was the chief support of the Confederate 

In the days of discouragement, its heroic soldiers alone never 
doubted, and, victors or vanquished, their devotion to the South 
did not for a single instant give way. Starving, half-naked, 
shoeless, their feet lacerated by long marches, struggling against a 
powerful enemy superior to them in everything — courage excepted 
— these brave fellows remained faithful to the cause they had 
embraced to the last moment. As long as honour speaks to the 
heart of man, the remembrance of their acts will remain imperish- 
able. The finest encomium that can be bestowed upon them has 
issued from the mouth of an adversary. 

" Who can forget, that once looked upon it," says Swinton, the . 
Northern military critic, "that array of tattered uniforms and 
bright muskets, that body of incomparable infantry, the army of 
Northern Virginia, which, for four years, carried the revolt on its 
bayonets, opposing a constant front to the mighty concentration 
of power brought against it, which, receiving terrible blows, Hid 
not fail to give the like, and which, vital in all its parts, died only 
with its annihilation." 

On the I St of March, 1862, this army extended its lines along 
the Potomac, from the Valley of Virginia to the environs of 


Fredericksburg. The rolls numbered 84,225 names, but there 
were only 47,617 able-bodied men present under arms. 

In the list of division-generals were Jackson, Longstreet, Hill, 
Ewell, and among others less known, many who distinguished 
themselves later. Stewart, that magnij&cent Hotspur, commanded 
the cavalry, and Pendleton had the direction of the artillery. 

F 2 





MacDowell's disaster at Mankssas was the greatest piece of 
good fortune that could have happened for the Federal Govern- 
ment. It caused it to understand how serious was the enterprise 
on which it had embarked, and that its projects for reconquering 
the South bristled with difficulties. The Federal authorities were 
obliged to confess that their armies were nothing but masses of 
men without discipline. The defeat of Manassas, fatal to the 
self-love of the North, yet rendered it better service than to the 
conquerors of the day. Everybody in the North began to work 
bravely to raise new armies and equip the fleet. The government 
negotiated some loans, decreed new levies of men, bought and 
built ships. It would be difficult truly to approve all that was 
done in the North at this time. A great number of the measures 
taken were despotic and arbitrary, and would have been thought 
disgraceful by all honourable men. But it is not the less certain 
that the Federal Government acted with decision and energy. 

From the breaking out of hostihties, it was clear that the 
decisive struggle would take place in Virginia. After MacDowelFs 
retreat, the Federal Government hastened to assemble another 
army under the walls of Washington. Major-General George 
B. MacClellan was placed at its head, whose name had already 
appeared in the campaign of Western Virginia. The new com- 
mander was one of those men about whom it is difficult to form 


a just idea. When nominated by the president, the country had 
in him the greatest hopes, because of the campaign of the 
preceding summer. If he did not justify them, it must be recol- 
lected that many influential people in the North off*ered him a 
lively opposition, and that Mr. Lincoln's Government fettered 
him continually. However this may be, he passes for having been 
the best general the North had. More brilliant in the council than 
on the battle-field, he understood better how to map out a plan 
for a campaign than how to execute it. His military operations 
seldom succeeded, in consequence of his hesitancy and want of 
vigour. The immense superiority of his army over that of his 
adversary rendered still more surprising the trifling results of his 
Virginian campaign. Nevertheless the affection of his troops for 
him, and the enthusiasm which he knew well how to awaken in 
them, are proofs that he had military qualities of the first order. 

At first he was entirely occupied in reorganizing his army. On 
July 27th, 1 86 1, he assumed the command of it. It comprised 
only 51,000 men; all appearance of military organization had 
disappeared, and every day the number of deserters increased. 
He lost not a moment in stopping this evil, and obtained from 
Congress a law which permitted him to dismiss incompetent 
officers. Thanks to this law, he was able, during the autumn, to 
get rid of several hundreds of them. The new recruits were 
rapidly organized, and subjected to a strict discipline. Thus, 
when the army of the Potomac commenced the campaign of 1862, 
it comprised 221,987 men of all arms, including 25 regiments of 
cavalry, and was provided with 92 batteries of 521 cannon, a 
corps of engineers, all manner of conveyances and supplies, 
pontoon bridges, and so forth, all in a high state of perfection. 
Never was the army of the South, that medley of rags and heroism, 
provided in this way, and yet what marvels did it accomplish ! 

It would be unjust to deny that General MacClellan, in this 
matter, gave proof of great talent as an organizer. To him 
especially it is due that the Northern army was able to preserve 


its discipline intact under the most overwhelming reverses. But 
the resources placed at his disposal were inexhaustible, when 
compared with those of the South, and it was especially in this 
that the superiority of the North made itself so cruelly felt 

In the month of October, 1861, the Federal army was ready, 
and pubhc opinion in the North showed itself impatient of pro- 
longed inaction. The Confederate army was encamped at 
Centreville, its outposts being stationed on certain elevations 
named Mason, Munson, and Upton's Hills, over which the in- 
habitants of Washington saw the Southern flags floating, and 
whence came to them the noise of the enemy's drums. The 
Northern humiliation at this was great; it became still greater 
when, some time after, the Potomac was blocked. Loud demands 
were made to force MacClellan to a decided course of action 
before the winter rendered all military operations impossible. 

For a moment he seemed to think seriously of threatening 
Manassas. Had he even left half of his effective force at 
Washington and along the Potomac, there still remained an army 
zX his disposal of 75,000 men, 30,000 more than could be 
opposed to him by the Confederates. The time was singularly 
favourable; for many years the roads had not been so good at 
this season. It would at least have been a gain to thrust back 
Johnston from the line of the upper Potomac upon the line of 
the Rapidan, and the moral effect in the North would have been 
immense, without reckoning that in the following spring he would 
commence his campaign with just as vawx^ prestige as his slowness 
made him lose. 

The plan remained a mere project, and autumn and winter 
passed in an inaction of which the South profited to develop 
its resources as much as possible by establishing ammunition 
factories and cannon foundries, by buying all it wanted of the 
foreigner, and summoning to its standard all the able-bodied men. 

This was still the state of things when, on the 8th of March, 
General Jackson had evacuated the line of Manassas, and retired 


southwards. In spite of the advantages which the South drew 
from MacClellan's inaction, Johnston and Beauregard, to their 
great regret, had been obliged to leave the Federal general leisure 
to reorganize his troops. They felt all the value of the time lost. 
Their true interest would have been to force MacClellan to 
accept battle before he had finished his preparations, to trammel 
and paralyze the reorganization of his army as much as possible. 
But the deplorable state of the commissariat of the South at that 
period, and the fear of exposing, by a concentration of all the 
disposable forces of the Confederacy, different points on the coast, 
and especially the capital, to the attack of an enemy commanding 
more numerous forces, compelled them to be prudent 

It is easy, indeed, to understand that, because of its numerical 
inferiority, the South was obhged to remain on the defensive, 
especially at the beginning of the struggle, when its soldiers 
had not yet learned their trade, and the brilliant successes of the 
campaign of 1862 had not yet given them that confidence which 
afterwards twice victoriously carried them beyond the Potomac. 

The army at Centreville, therefore, also remained on the 
defensive during the winter. But in the month of February, 1862, 
Johnston resolved to abandon Manassas and fall back on the line 
of the Rappahannock This movement brought the Southern 
army nearer its base of operations, and afforded better shelter 
from marauding foes to the convoys of provisions which were 

He dismounted gims of heavy calibre from the lines at Bull's 
Run and the Potomac, and moved them to the rear of the 
Rappahannock. The army numbered 50,000 men. Of these 
Jackson had 6,000 with him in the Valley of Virginia, so that 
44,000 men remained under the immediate orders of Johnston. 
The outposts were recalled from Leesburg and Evansport, and, 
on March 8th, 1862, the entire army retreated behind the 
Rappahannock, destroying all the bridges on its way. 

The smoke of the barracks, to which the Confederates had set fire. 


revealed next morning to the Federals the retrograde movement 
of their enemy. MacClellan made no attempt to pursue him, 
convinced that his adversary had too much start for him to 
overtake him. He was contented to occupy the forsaken lines, 
and send out a strong reconnoitring party to the Rappahannock. 
Soon after, Johnston, having assured himself that the line of the 
Rapidan offered a better defensive position than that of the 
Rappahannock, retired behind that stream. 

MacClellan then, renouncing the movement on Manassas, 
thought of changing his base of operation, and carrying his troops 
into the Peninsula of Virginia. His plan of campaign was very 
simple. The principal army under MacClellan, to the number of 
120,000 men, was to embark at Washington and Alexandria, and 
occupy the Peninsula, making use of Fortress Monroe as a base 
of operations in an advance upon Richmond. MacDowell's 
corps, 40,000 strong, was to follow MacClellan as soon as 
possible, and he would have for his mission to act against the 
Confederate flank, if they persisted ia defending the Peninsula. 
General Banks was ordered to occupy Manassas, and cover 
Washington with 40,000 men ; Fremont commanded in Western 
Virginia, having 30,000 men under him. He was to descend the 
mountains and march on the Southern capital. All these troops 
combined could not fail to lead to the forcible capture of 
Richmond in less than a month. 

From February 27 th to March i6th, 400 steamers and sailing- 
vessels assembled at Washington and Alexandria. There were 
shipped 121,500 men, 14,592 horses and mules, 44 batteries, 
waggons, ammunition-vans, ambulances, train-service, telegraphic 
materials, supplies, and all the baggage required for so great an 
army. On the 17 th of March the embarkation began, and was 
completed without hindrance. The transports had only to 
descend the Potomac, a large and deep river, whose two banks 
were in the power of the Federals, then navigate a few hours 
along the coast into the Bay of Chesapeake, a small inland sea 


separated from the Atlantic by tongues of land which shelter it 
against storms, and so they were conducted without danger to the 
mouth of the York River. 

General MacClellan, in adopting definitively a plan which he 
had declared should only be followed in the last extremity, 
committed a grave error. Napoleon said that every general who 
puts into execution a plan which he considers bad, is culpable in 
the highest degree. Otherwise, the plan was not bad in itself, 
but it should have been executed with more boldness and 

On April ist, MacClellan disembarked at Fortress Monroe. 
Johnston, during this time, had contented himself with drawing his 
forces httle by little nearer Richmond. The Confederate Govern- 
ment having signified its wish to him that he should take up a 
position in, and defend, the Peninsula, the Southern general put 
his army in motion towards the lines of Yorktown. It began to 
defile through the streets of Richmond on the morning of 
April 5th, and on the 7th the advanced guard rejoined General 
Magruder*s corps. 

To the south-east of Richmond, between that town and Chesa- 
peake Bay, there stretches a tongue of land, bounded on the 
north by the York River, on the south by the James, and known 
under the name of the Peninsula. Properly speaking, it is 
terminated at West Point, where the York River begins ; but, 
since 1862, this name has been given to all the country between 
Richmond and the bay, bounded by the rivers Pamunkey, York, 
and James. A railway connects Rkhmond with West Point, 
whence vessels of the largest draught ascend the York. Several 
good coach roads start from the town toward various points in the 
Peninsula, which is terminated at Fortress Monroe. 

At the opening of hostilities the Confederate Government was 
persuaded that the enemy would attempt to push through on that 
side to the capital, and in the month of May, 1861, Colonel 
(afterwards General) Macgruder had been stationed at Yorktown 


for the protection of that neighbourhood. Although at first he 
had but 3000 men at his disposal, gradually^increased to 15,000, he 
succeeded after the battle of Bethel, of which mention has been 
already made, in keeping the Federals shut up in their entrenched 
camps at New-Port-News and Hampton. 

Deceiving MacClellan as to the number of forces under him, 
he stopped the Federal army before some earth-works, rapidly 
thrown up and armed, till Johnston, at the head of 53,000 men, 
was able to join him. The Northern army was double that of 
the others. Nevertheless, Johnston was able to maintain himself 
in the Hnes of Yorktown till they became no longer tenable, in 
consequence of the disembarkation of Federal troops in his rear. 
After a sanguinary engagement at Wilhamsburg, he slowly retired, 
presenting an undaunted front to the enemy, and finally halted on 
the banks of the Chickahominy. For some days the weather was 
abominable, rendering military operations very diflUcult, the rivers 
and marshes overflowing on all sides. A Federal corps, com- 
manded by General Franklin, having landed at West Point on the 
York River, marching to place itself between Johnston and Rich- 
mond, was thrown back, after a sharp encounter, towards the 
York, and obliged to seek refiige under the fire of the Northern 

Thus, at Wilhamsburg, the Federal pursuit had been arrested, 
and Franklin's plan at Eltham's Landing had been baffled. 

But, on the contrary, the evacuation of Norfolk, and the 
destruction of the Confederate iron-clad, the Merrimac^ permitted 
the Federals to ascend the James River to within a short distance 
of Richmond. Great was there the consternation. Happily, the 
defences raised at Drury's Bluff (a height commanding the river), 
considerably augmented, sufficed to shelter the town on that side. 

This did not make the Southern situation less gloomy. The 
army, exhausted by its retreat, reckoned only 47,000 men. The 
country was alarmed, and many people left Richmond to take 
refiige in the interior. The Federal army, numbering twice its 


opponents, encamped at the gates of Richmond. MacClellan, in 
his report, estimated it at 156,838, of whom 115,102 were 
efficients, that is to say, present on the field of battle. Provisions 
and war-material came to it direct, and without hindrance, from 
the White House, on the Federal rear, MacClellan's head-quarters, 
situated on the York River, and connected with the Federal camp 
by a railway. Hundreds of steam-boats brought daily from 
Washington and New York all that the Federal commissariat or 
the general had need of. 

The Northern army occupied an excellent position. Its 
left was protected by the White Oak Swamp, nearly impassable ; 
all approaches in the direction of Richmond had been rendered 
inaccessible by the natural difficulties of the soil ; these had been 
further defended by means of felled trees and earth-works. Unless 
the Confederates could succeed in turning MacClellan^s right, his 
communication with his base at the White House, and his army's 
safety ran no risk. As regards this contingency, precautions had 
been taken. 

Other Federal corps were advancing into Virginia to co-operate 
with the principal army. MacDowell was at Fredericksburg with 
a strong division of 40,000 men, and was to descend in all haste 
towards the South, and form on the extreme right of MacClellan. 
Fremont was ordered to defile into the Valley of Virginia, to crush 
Jackson^s feeble corps, and give a helping hand to General 
Banks, who was directed to leave Winchester, and post himself 
along the railway to Manassas. Both were to watch the 
approaches to Washington, and replace MacDowell before that 
city. Thus Richmond would be half surrounded by the Federal 
armies. At the head of 200,000 men it seemed certain that, before 
the summer, MacClellan must make himself master of the 
Confederate capital, which had for its defence but 100,000 men 
at the most It is plain now that it was only the ability of such 
men as Johnston, Lee, and Jackson, which succeeded in saving 
Richmond from this imminent danger. 


Taking in at a glance the general position of Virginia, and 
penetrating the enemy^s scheme, Johnston ordered Jackson, who 
commanded in the Valley, to take the offensive, and, by disquieting 
the Northern generals about the safety of their capital, to stop 
the continual iniSux of troops into the Peninsula. Jackson 
immediately precipitated himself on General Banks, who was 
executing his movement from Winchester by the Blue Ridge 
towards Washington. Repulsed at first at Kernstown, Jackson 
made a second attempt at Strasburg, overthrew Banks, and 
pursued him closely beyond the Potomac. The fright caused by 
the news of this at Washington was such that President Lincoln 
ordered MacDowell, who was still at Fredericksburg, to detach 
20,000 men to bar Jackson's passage. The Federal plan was 
thus entirely deranged. Banks being vanquished, and MacDowell 
detained by order of the President, MacClellan was obliged to 
remain inactive, always awaiting MacDowell. The Northern 
army was half on one side and half on the other, of the Chickaho- 
miny, and its chief felt little disposed to give battle under these 

Johnston ended this indecision. Perceiving that the Federal 
forces opposed to him near Seven Pines, on the south bank of the 
Chickahominy, were only a portion of the enemy's army, the 
Confederate general, profiting by a sudden rise of the water, 
resolved to attack. MacClellan the same day, the 30th of May, at 
length decided, it would appear, to attack the lines of Richmond, 
when the Confederate columns came out to assail him. The 
battle which followed is known as that of the Seven Pines. It 
was one of the most furious and sanguinary of the whole war. On 
both sides they struggled frantically, and neither gained a 
decisive advantage. On the Confederate right, near the Seven 
Pines, the Federal lines were thrust to the rear; but on the 
left, at the station of Fair Oaks, the Confederates, in their turn, 
were repulsed. Night put an end to this indecisive contest 
The onward march of the Federals had just been rudely checked, 


but, on the Southern side, General Johnston had received a severe 
wound, and had to be carried to Richmond. 

For some time Lee had returned from CaroUna. When the 
calamity which had fallen on Johnston was known, all thoughts 
turned towards Lee. Till now no opportunity worthy of his 
talent had been given him. The only command, if one may 
give it the name, which he had held was in that part of Virginia 
beyond the AUeghanies; it was rather in remembrance of 
his services in the old United States army, than of those 
hitherto rendered to the Confederacy, that he was to be nominated 
to the command of the principal Southern army. His nomi- 
nation was dated the 3rd of June. Thus the Virginians, assembled 
for the defence of theii: capital, found themselves under the orders 
of the most illustrious of their fellow-citizens. 

The critical position of affairs decided President Davis to put 
Lee at the head of the army of Northern Virginia. While 
retaining his rank of commander-in-chief of all the Confederate 
forces, he held besides the command which had just been 
entrusted to him. While at Richmond he had sent all the re- 
inforcements that could be spared to Johnston's army. The 
conscription began to bring many soldiers to the Southern 
standard. On the 20th of June the army of Northern Virginia 
numbered 70,000 fighting men. Like his predecessor, Lee did 
not wish to allow the Federals to come close under the walls of 
the Confederate capital. He spent some days following his 
appointment in studying the position of the two armies. 

Meanwhile President Lincoln at length consented to Mac- 
Doweirs division rejoining the principal army under MacClellan, 
provided it made its march by land, so as not to expose Washing- 
ton. The Federal general-in-chief extended his right wing to 
Hanover Court House,* in order to render assistance to Mac- 

* A court house in its origin was frequently but a house, situated generally 
in the centre of the county whence it took its name ; a place where, at certain 
times, the authorities and judges of the county met, and serving both for 


Dowell's advanced 'guard. It was a critical moment for the 
Southern cause. This new reinforcement of 40,000 men, coming 
to swell 120,000 Federals already in line, would probably necessi- 
tate the abandonment of Richmond, the moral effect of which 
would have been great. MacClellan, with ear extended towards 
the North with feverish impatience, thought he already heard 
MacDowell's cannon. But this movement was never to be 

General Jackson, charged with neutralizing the three columns of 
Banks, Fremont, and MacDowell, and so hindering them from 
helping MacClellan, rose to the height of his difficult mission. 
The conqueror of Banks, who had been ordered to replace 
MacDowell at Manassas, this indefatigable Jackson succeeded 
in beating separately Fremont, who, according to the preconcerted 
plan, was advancing from the west on Richmond, as well as 
Shields's division, detached by MacDowell to intercept his passage. 
Free, then, in his movements, Jackson could join Lee for a 
decisive attack on MacClellan's army. Lee, on his side, had 
decided not to lose an instant, and an immediate attack was 
resolved on. 

On the receipt of these disastrous tidings from the Valley, Pre- 
sident Lincoln absolutely opposed the departure of MacDowell. 
MacClellan, thoroughly disheartened by this new delay, perceived 
that he would be compelled to change all his combinations, and 
must rely only on himself. The left of the Federal army was, to 
the south of the Chickahominy, protected by a system of formid- 
able works, whose approaches were rendered inaccessible by the 
felling of huge trees ; the whole being commanded by numerous 
batteries. The centre was supported on the stream itself, near 
New Bridge. The right extended to Meadow Bridge, beyond 
Mechanicsville, strongly intrenched in a country admirably 

town-hall and sessions-house. In this district, the population of which is 
scattered, there are not many villages ; the inhabitants are disseminated in 
plantations^ and the farms isolated. 


adapted for defensive operations. This line, fifteen miles in length, 
was in shape a crescent. At Meadow Bridge, where the outposts 
of the right wing were, the river is only six miles from the capital. 
At New Bridge, in the centre of the Federal position, the distance 
from Richmond is nine miles. York River railroad connected the 
camp with the Pamunkey in a straight line, a river navigable to 
this point for the largest steamers, and kept the army in com- 
munication with all the North. It was thus most easily provided 
with everything it needed. 

The Chickahominy, which thus cut the Federal position at right 
angles, is a narrow watercourse, without any perceptible current. 
Its banks are boggy ; trees and brushwood descend to the water, 
and form there an impenetrable mass, rendering its passage, 
except where there are bridges, difficult and dangerous. The 
Confederate army covered Richmond, extending from the James 
River, where its extreme right commenced, to the Chickahominy, 
beyond Meadow Bridge, on which its extreme left abutted. 
General Huger commanded the right. General Magruder the centre. 
General A. P. Hill the left. The divisions of Longstreet and 
D. H. Hill, drawn up behind and beyond the left, were to support, 
at a fitting moment, the turning movement of Jackson. 

In order to get an account of the positions occupied by his foe. 
General Lee directed General Stuart, the commander-in-chief of 
the cavalry, to reconnoitre in force. This feat of arms, one of the 
most daring the war saw, succeeded perfectly. MacCleIlan*s 
vulnerable point seemed to be his extreme right. To this side, 
therefore, the Confederate new commander-in-chief gave his 

General James E. B. Stuart, who here appears for the first time, 
was a Virginian by birth, and, as yet, only thirty years old. A 
cavalry lieutenant who had resigned, he served under Johnston in 
the Valley in the early engagements. At Manassas, in the 
skirmishes which followed Johnston's retreat behind the Rappa- 
hannock, and in the combats of the Peninsula, he was always 


remarked for his courage and skill. Of medium height, square 
shoulders and large chest, he wore a long beard and moustache, 
turned up at the ends, in the manner of Charles I. The glance of 
an eagle flashed from his clear blue eyes. A lover of noise, move- 
ment, adventure, brilliant colours, Stuart had engaged in the strife 
with the ardour and passion which the hunter experiences in the 
pursuit of game. Young, ambitious, brave as his sword, joyous, 
laughing, and for ever joking, continually followed by a negro 
banjo player, hurling himself on the enemy while singing a lively 
refrain, Stuart was the beau-ideal oi di cavalier, and was adored by 
his soldiers. It was with joyful alacrity he answered the appeal of 
his chief. 

He assembled 1200 men, composed of the ist, 4th, and 9th 
regiments of Virginian cavalry, under Colonels W. H. Fitzhugh 
Lee and Fitz Lee, the son and nephew of the general-in-chief, 
(both subsequently became generals), two squadrons of Davis^s 
legion, and two pieces of horse artillery. The column left Rich- 
mond on the 1 2th of June, and moving northwards, encamped for 
the night near Hanover Court House, not far from the bridge over 
the South Anna. Stuart had taken this direction in order to make 
the enemy believe that he was moving from General Jackson's side. 
He was twenty-two miles from the town, and could from thence 
bear down directly on the rear of the Federal army. During the 
night Stuart sent up some rockets, to let them know at Richmond 
where he was. An answer was made to these signals from the 
city. Sentries posted on all sides watched against surprise. On 
June 13th, at dawn, after a short meal, everybody was in the saddle. 
The most profound silence reigned in the ranks. Up to this 
moment nobody asked a question about the object of the expedition. 
Once in the enem/s lines, Stuart confided to his officers his orders 
and plans. Scouts brought back word that the Oldchurch road 
was open. This point is equidistant from New Bridge on the 
Chickahominy, and the Pamunkey, a river serving as the base of 
Federal operations. He thus found himself on the road leading 


straight to MacClellan's centre. The column rapidly advanced in 
that direction. 

At Hanover Court House, 150 Federal cavalry took flight 
towards Mechanicsville. They were not pursued ; Stuart was in 
too great a hurry for that At Hawe's Shop several of the enemy's 
sentries were seized. A little further on a whole regiment of 
cavalry (the 2nd Federal, General Lee's old regiment,) precipitately 
retired before Stuart's column. The pursuit continued to a little 
watercourse named Tottapotomy. A little further on, the Federals 
having been reinforced, halted at Oldchurch. There was no time 
to hesitate. Stuart threw on them a squadron in close column, 
occupying the width of the road. Captain Latan^, who com- 
manded it, was slain, but the Federal cavalry made no stand, and 
the I St regiment of Virginian cavalry, under Colonel Fitz Lee, put 
it to the rout, capturing several prisoners and horses. The tents, 
waggons, and provisions were burnt 

Stuart had to choose whether he would return by the way he 
came, or, making a complete circuit of the hostile army, cross the 
Chickahominy lower down. His instructions left him free to act 
as he thought best The railroad of the York River once crossed, 
he made siure of arriving at the Chickahominy, hazarding, if he 
met with infantry, his leaving it behind him, or if cavalry, his de- 
feating it He therefore decided for the hardiest plan, but in 
truth, the least dangerous, for it was probable that the enemy was 
watching with superior forces all the country he had just traversed, 
thus rendering his return very problematicaL He started, there- 
fore, in the direction of TunstalFs Station. On the road, his 
soldiers burnt everything that belonged to the Federal army — tents, 
waggons, supplies. Everywhere the inhabitants welcomed them 
with shouts of joy. At the sight of their grey jackets many an eye 
was filled with tears, and more than one old man counselled them 
to be prudent, " for the enemy," it was added, " siurounded them 
on all sides." 

On the edge of New Kent County the squadron of the advanced 


guard fell on a canteen establishment, well furnished with provisions. 
The famished horsemen halted and ordered a meal. When the 
canteen-keeper wished to be paid, great was his consternation at 
learning that he was a prisoner, and so it was with some Federal 
soldiers who were in the public-house. The rest of the column 
arriving, finished off the remaining victuals ; a little further on 
Stuart reached the Pamunkey, and there set fire to two ships, 
loaded with provisions, moored to the bank. Here the column 
turned off on the railway. Some chosen men went on in advance 
and surprised the Tunstall station, cutting the telegraph wires, 
making prisoners twenty men on guard, and obstructing the line. 
Hardly had this blow been struck before a long convoy of 
provisions was observed approaching by the road, on its way to 
the Federal army, under the escort of five squadrons of cavalry. 
To put these to flight, and obtain possession of the booty, was 
but the affair of a moment. Shortly after a train was heard 
coming from the Richmond side, bound for the White House on 
the Pamunkey. The Confederates stationed sharpshooters along 
the way, but the train passed very swiftly, without being stopped 
by the obstacles. Presently Stuart's soldiers rained down a 
perfect hailstorm of bullets on some open waggons full of Federal 
soldiers. Some were killed or wounded ; others, terror-stricken, 
leaped from the train, and were made prisoners. 

It was night, and time was becoming precious. The convoy 
they had taken was burnt, as well as the railway bridge at Black 
Creek, thus intercepting the highway of communication between 
the Federal army and the Pamunkey. These precautions taken, 
it was necessary to set out again. The burning waggons gave 
light to the departing of the hardy Confederates. The roads were 
abominable ; they had all the difficulty in the world to drag their 
cannon through the mud. Some of the men wandered on the 
road. A delay of three hours and a half was therefore neces- 
sitated at Talleysville, in order to rally the stragglers. A Federal 
hospital, with 150 sick men in it, fell into the hands of the 


Southerners, but suffered no damage. • At midnight the march was 
resumed, and on the morning of the 14th the column reached the 
Chickahominy at Forge Bridge, where Stuart hoped to find a 
ford. But Colonel Fitzhugh Lee, having tried to cross, found the 
river there very deep and the current very rapid. The situation 
became critical. The Federal sentries were so near that one 
could almost hear them, and numerous columns of Federal cavalry 
scoured the country in all dii;ections to cut off the retreat of 
Stuart's troopers, whose audacious exploits had awakened all the 
energy of General MacClellan. Before them flowed an impassable 
river ; on all sides they were beset by a swarm of enemies bent on 
their destruction. It seemed impossible that, on the return of 
day, they would not be made prisoners. Over and over again 
men threw themselves into the water, seeking a ford, but in vain. 
The only resource was to construct a bridge. Happily, at this 
moment, the ruins of an old bridge were discovered, destroyed by 
the Confederates some weeks previously. These they could make 
use of. With the aid of some boards found in a house, and some 
trees felled on the banks of the river, they succeeded in repairing 
the bridge, and before day all the column had crossed the 
Chickahominy and re-entered the Southern lines. 

Without speaking of the intelligence, precious and precise, 
which had been gained relative to the position and strength of the 
Federal army. General Stuart led back 165 prisoners, 260 horses 
and mules with their accoutrements, and a considerable quantity 
of arms. He had likewise destroyed provisions and war-materials 
valued at several milhon dollars. This magnificent result had 
cost the life of only a single man, the brave Captain Latand The 
soldiers' conduct was worthy of all praise. Except a very short 
halt on Thursday evening, they had not left their saddles from 
Thursday morning till Saturday night, stopping neither to rest nor 
eat, and amid a thousand dangers accomplishing with success one 
of the most brilliant feats of arms that have ever rendered the 
cavalry of a country illustrious. 

G 2 


Thanks to the intelligence which Stuart brought back, General 
Lee saw that the Federal right could be easily turned, for, so to 
speak, it was unguarded. He resolved to profit by this circum- 
stance. His first care, on assuming the command, had been to 
construct along his lines works of defence sufficiently strong for 
a part of his army to hold them against all the Federal army, 
leaving the rest of the Confederate troops free to take the 
offensive. The time was favourable. Jackson, the conqueror of 
Shields and Fremont, was in a situation to join his soldiers with 
the Confederate army under Richmond. He was, therefore, 
recalled, with the recommendation to operate this movement as 
secretly as possible, so that the enemy might not know he had left 
the Valley. 

To this end recourse was had to a stratagem. On the i ith of 
June, Whiting's division of Lee's army were loaded in several 
trains at the terminus of the Danville railroad at Richmond* 
They were made to cross the river at a point near Belleisle, where 
there were, at that moment, a considerable number of Federal 
prisoners, about to be released and sent down the James River. 
The trains loitered a long time, and the prisoners were able to 
convince themselves that all these Confederate soldiers were sent 
by Lee to reinforce Jackson, who was only waiting for them to 
march on Washington. MacClellan, in effect, believed this 
report of the liberated prisoners. The trains set out in the 
direction indicated, but returned the same night Jackson, on his 
part, by a clever combination of marches and countermarches, 
made believe that he was descending the Valley towards the upper 
Potomac, and disappeared suddenly. Even his soldiers were 
ignorant whither he was leading them. They had received orders 
not to ask the names of the villages they passed through, and to 
reply to all questions : " I don't know." So well, that Jackson, 
having surprised a soldier stealing cherries, and asking him his 
name and regiment, could get him to say nothing else but " I don't 


On the isth of June, Jackson's division arrived at Ashland, 
fifteen miles north of Richmond. Here he left his tired soldiers, 
and rapidly betook himself to the city. Crossing the streets at 
night, he arrived, without being recognised, at the house which 
served Lee for head-quarters, near Fair Oaks Station. There took 
place the first interview, since the commencement of the war, 
between these two remarkable men. 

Lee's plan was to take the Federal's right wing in front and rear, 
throw it back on the centre, and thus force MacClellan to issue 
from his intrenchments and deUver battle in order to maintain his 
communications with the Pamunkey. Consequently Jackson was 
to direct his march on Pole Green Church, nearly in the direction 
of Stuart's reconnoitring expedition. This latter, with a large part 
of the cavalry, was stationed at Jackson's extreme left, to surround 
the Federals more surely. General Branch was to defile by 
Meadow Bridge on Mechanicsville, while General A. P. Hill 
woiild bear directly on Mechanicsville, supported by the con- 
centrated fire of all the Confederate batteries raised along the 
Chickahominy. The position of Mechanicsville once carried^ 
General D. H. Hill would support Jackson's operations, who was 
charged to attack on the rear, and squeeze everything that came in 
his way as in a vice, all the while pressing on the Federal centre. 
Longstreet was to support General A. P. Hill, and the two corps 
united had for their mission to occupy the enemy's lines at New 
Bridge. Generals Huger and Magruder were meanwhile to defend 
the works before Richmond, making demonstrations against the 
centre, and to advance if the enemy retreated, pursuing him 
vigorously. On the roads abutting on the capital were posted 
sentries and detachments of cavalry, to watch the movements of 
the enemy. Reserves of infantry were ready to support them in 
case of an unforeseen attack. The soldiers were ordered to carry 
provisions for three days. As the Confederates occupied the 
inner, that is, the shorter line, it was easy for them, if needed, to 
concentrate themsel^s rapidly, either for attack or defence. 


MacClellan, on his side, since the battle of Seven Pines, had 
been content to fortify his position, seeking to divine the schemes 
of his adversary. He had quietly given up the offensive part to 
Lee, and during the rest of this campaign the Federal forces 
offered the strange spectacle of an army invading a country, and, 
although very superior in number and resources, awaiting the 
attack, instead of pressing forward and engaging itself in conflict. 
MacClellan had also committed the remarkable blunder of so 
disposing his army that the Chickahominy flowed between its two 
wings, thus cutting its centre at right angles. The wiiigs could 
only communicate with each other by means of bridges and roads, 
always very bad, because of the marshy nature of the ground 
bordering the river. Sudden overflows might at any moment 
carry away the bridges, in which case the two halves of his army 
could not possibly succour each other. Having established his 
base of operations on the Pamunkey, which was unnecessary, he 
was compelled to keep his right wing between that river and 
Richmond, to protect his communications. Had he chosen the 
James, all need of remaining north of the Chickahominy would 
have disappeared, and this dangerous position, the holding of both 
banks of a stream which could play him a bad turn, would have no 
further shade of excuse or reason for its continuance. 

For the r^st, he felt the peril of his positiqn so much, that he 
was thinking of changing his base of operations, when a deserter 
from Jackson's division arrived on the 24th of June, and informed 
him that that general was preparing to march on his right flank. 




• 27TH, 1862. 

Now commences that series of combats from June 26th to 
July I St, known by the name of "The seven days under Rich- 
mond," terminating in the defeat and final retreat of MacClellan. 
The Chickahominy, whose borders were about to be the scene of 
an eager and decisive struggle between the two hostile armies, is a 
river with small current, winding much, which takes its rise above 
Richmond, running north and east of the city, and falling into the 
James to the south, far below Richmond. Its borders are marshy, 
and covered with trees and brushwood. The banks are low, and 
at the least overflow of the water, the stream, generally narrow and 
insignificant, becomes a lake, covering all the plain to the woody 
hills which rise at a certain distance on both sides. Several 
bridges cross it ; that of Mechanicsville, four miles from Richmond, 
and that of New Bridge, eight miles, are very important points. 

MacClellan's position has been already described. One part 
of his army had crossed the southern bank and was about five 
miles from the city. The rest of his troops remained on the north 
bank of the Chickahominy, and extended in the forrfi of a crescent 
to the neighbourhood of Mechanicsville, where it had been agreed 
that General MacDowell should post himself, thus covering the 
Federal right flank, and protecting its communications with the 
Federal base at the White House. In the presence of such foes 
as Johnston and Lee this disposition of the troops was a grave 


blunder. But here MacClellan was the victim of the feeble and 
changing policy at Washington. If MacDowell's 40,000 men had 
marched to join his standard, his position would have been 
sheltered from all surprise. It was precisely this right flank, left 
defenceless, because too much reliance was placed on MacDowell, 
which became the point of the Confederate attack. 

The army Lee was preparing to hurl against the enemy was 
composed of the 'elite of the Southern population. Among the 
common soldiers were many men of good education and high 
social position. This explains the character which the contest 
had taken. The war was one of invasion on the part of the 
North. Thus all the Southern youth, naturally impatient and 
ardent, had thrown body and soul into it with enthusiasm. The 
feeling that everybody ought to become a soldier for his native 
soil, and a legitimate indignation at the thought that a fraction of 
the country had sent an army to reduce them to obedience, 
attracted to the Confederate ranks the flower of the youth, and all 
that was most vigorous in the district. Restive under discipline, 
and hard to manage, these men still gave proof of precious military 
qualities. They could especially be counted on when the enter- 
prise was perilous. Among the generals, it is enough to mention 
A. P. Hill, whose dash was irresistible ; Longstreet, remarkable 
on the contrary for his quiet and obstinacy; the already celebrated 
Jackson, nicknamed " Stonewall," and others who made a name 

Till now, General Lee had passed for being a man of exagge- 
rated prudence, but his plan of attack against MacClellan indi- 
cated a hardiness which, on the contrary, bordered upon rashness. 
Informing himself accurately as to the positions occupied by the 
enemy and his forces, knowing also that a great part of the 
Federal army had crossed the Chickahominy and were in his 
ront, Lee had decided to cross to the north bank with the major 
portion of his troops, leaving only 25,000 men for the protection 
of the city, and risk all on the chances of the battle he was about 


to deliver. It was, perhaps, very inconsiderate, but, like his later 
flank movement at Chancellorsville, and his entry, in 1864, into 
Pennsylvania under the very eyes of General Hooker, this hardi- 
ness had its source in a true military inspiration, revealing the 
qualifications of a great captain. 

On June 26th, 1862, General Jackson put his troops in motion 
about 10 o'clock, a.m. In consequence of the rapidity with which 
he had descended some mountains in Western Virginia, the biilk 
of his train had only rejoined very late in the night ; by this his 
departure in the morning was delayed. General Branch, of 
A. P. Hill's division, immediately crossed the marshes with his 
brigade and marched on Meadow Bridge. But the obstacles met 
with made his progress very slow. General A. P. Hill waited a 
long time without receiving any news of Jackson or Branch. He 
well knew the engagement had begun, but the enemy's forces in 
his front gave no signs of trouble. At 3 o'clock, p.m., feeling that 
if he delayed longer, the success of the whole combination would 
be compromised, he gave orders to commence the attack. 
Field's brigade precipitated itself on the bridge and took it. The 
whole division followed, and, turning to the right, marched on 
Mechanicsville. Received by a sharp fire of artillery it still 
pressed on, and routed the Federals at Mechanicsville. But this 
was only an affair with the outposts. The true line of defence 
chosen by the enemy was rather more than a mile in the rear, on 
the left bank of a watercourse, Beaver Dam Creek \ this bank, 
higher than the right bank, commands the latter. The Federal 
left was supported on the Chickahominy, the centre was stationed 
at Beaver Dam Creek, and the right leaned on some thick woods 
which bordered the road from Mechanicsville to Cold Harbour. 
A road crossed the watercourse and ascended towards Ellison's 
Mill. This was the only way by which Confederate artillery 
could attack the Federal position, and the fire of the Federal 
cannon had an entire sweep of it. To the south of this creek 
there was also a small valley, but so marshy that infantry could 


not manoeuvre there. Besides, it had been strewn with trunks of 
trees thrown across it The Federal position, naturally so strong, 
had been chosen with extreme care ; several lines of infantry and 
artillery possessed the heights, and rifle pits extended from the 
base to the top of the hill. General Fitz-John Porter, the most 
able of the Northern divisionary generals, commanded at this 
point. It was here that the Federal troops, crowded back from 
Mechanicsville, sought a refuge. General Hill's soldiers pursuing 
the enemy were soon under the fire of the Beaver Dam Creek 
batteries. Perceiving that the position was too strong to be 
carried by assault, and hoping every moment to hear Jackson's 
cannon, on the enem/s rear, General Hill halted. To his right, 
however, he twice attempted to cross the Beaver Dam Creek 
stream at Ellison's Mill, but without being able to touch General 
Porter's left. At 9 o'clock, p.m., the combat ceased. The 
Federals had been dislodged at Mechanicsville, but held their own 
at Beaver Dam Creek. The Confederates passed the night on 
the ground they had conquered. They had lost between three 
and four thousand men ; the Federals much less. 

At 6 o'clock, p.m., General A. P. Hill's offensive movement 
having laid open the Mechanicsville Bridge, the divisions of 
D. H. Hill and Longstreet were able to cross, the Chickahominy, 
the former taking the direction of Cold Harbour to co-operate 
with Jackson, the latter going to the help of A. P. Hill, in order, 
on the following morning, to be in line. 

Up to this time, in spite of some delays caused by the difficult 
nature of this woody and marshy country, Lee's plan had perfectly 
succeeded. The four divisions of Jackson, A. P. Hill, D. H. Hill, 
and Longstreet had crossed the Chickahominy, and although the 
Federals still held out at Beaver Dam Creek, there was no doubt 
that when Jackson fell on their flank, they would be obliged to 
abandon this position. Indeed, this calculation was verified by 
the event. General MacClellan, at the news of Jackson's ap- 
proach, gave orders to General Porter to retire on New Bridge. 


In the night of the 26th of June, Porter sent the greater part of 
his cannon and waggons to the south bank of the river ; and a 
little before .day, the Federal troops withdrew, burning all they 
could not carry off. General Jackson had arrived on the borders 
of Tottapotamy Creek, a marshy watercourse, with steep banks 
covered with thick wood. He found the bridge in flames, and 
heard the enemy on the other side cutting timber in the forest to 
bar his road. The Texas Brigade, commanded by Wood, was 
sent on in advance as scouts. An opportune fire of some 
howitzers into the woods made the enemy take flight, and the 
Confederates promptly repaired the bridge and crossed. Con- 
tinually pushing the Federal rear-guard before him, Jackson passed 
the night at Hundley's Corner; and the next day, June 27th, 
at dawn, resumed his march on Cold Harbour. D. H. Hill, 
during the morning, rejoined him with his division, and from that 
time formed the advanced guard of the Confederate left. 

On the morning of the 27 th, Longstreet in the centre drove 
Porter's troops before him, and A. P. Hill went further to the left 
to Gaines Mill, more than a mile from Cold Harbour, in order to 
give a helping hand to D. H. Hill and Jackson. Thus, therefore, 
on the morning of June 27th, at ten o'clock, MacClellan withdrew 
his right wing, to find a place where he could deliver a last battle 
to the north of the Chickahominy, the four Confederate divisions 
pressing him smartly with their united forces. Up to this point 
everything had succeeded to General Lee's satisfaction. The 
Federal general-in-chief felt that his plan of campaign had failed, 
and that there was only left to him the choice of two alternatives, 
equally dangerous. He could no longer think of preserving his 
communications with the White House* on the Pamunkey; 
Jackson was already master of it. Should MacClellan risk a 
battle in its aid, and victory not declare for him, his line of retreat 
towards the James River would be lost. His only choice was 

♦ This property belonged to Lee, and came from General Washington. 
The latter was married here. The Federals did not leave it a blade of grass. 


between an abandonment of the position he occupied, and a 
retreat, or the rapid concentration of his forces south of the 
Chickahominy, followed by an assault on the lines at Richmond. 
The latter would have been the most daring, inasmuch as it 
•would have presented his flank to- the enemy ; but, perhaps, his 
great numericaU superiority might have allowed him to crush 
Magruder and Hug^fs 25,000 men before Lee could fly to their 
•succour. However this may be, MacClellan decided on* retreat. 
• As Jackson^ at the head of the Confederate teft wing, barred his 
road, to the Pamunkey, where, up to the present, his base of 
operations had been, there remained to him only two lines of 

retreat ; the fir§t, that which the Confederates had followed in 


May, coming from Yorktown; this was much the longest, and 
exposed him to the daily attacks jof the victorious Confederates, 
which'might lead to the entire destruction of his army ; the second 
carried -him through the White Oak Swamp to the James River, 
and was hardly more than thirty miles long. The nature of the 
country traversed would permit him to conceal his movements, 
and arrest the enem/s pursuit at critical points. He chose this 
latter route. He hoped thus to accomplish a change in his base 
of operations, which he had long desired, in order to begin a new 
campaign against Richmond, with this difference, indeed, between 
the movement he wished for and that he was compelled to take, 
that in the former case he would not have had to experience the 
frightful losses in men and treasure which were about to attend 
its actual execution, and that what would have been an offensive 
movement became an obligatory flight before a conquering 

Having then decided on the White Oak Swamp, MacClellan 
saw that, in order to give time to the bulk of his army to defile, 
the right wing under General Porter must be sacrificed to cover 
the Federal retreat. Porter, therefore, withdrew from Beaver 
Dam Creek, and occupied a very strong position at Cold Harbour, 
where MacClellan had ordered some formidable works to be 


constructed, which ^ extended over a seriea of heights from the 
Chickahominy to Cold Harbour. A boggy watercourse, Powhite 
Creek, traversing a very woody country, flowed at the foot of 
these heights. The left occupied an elevated ground covered 


with trees, very precipitous, -and overlooking a ravine which- 
descended to the Chickahominy ; the right, a sheltered position 
in the woods behind Cold Harbour. The tufted brushwood of 
this ravine hid thousands of sharpshooters ; half-way up the hefght ' ' 
there extended a line of infantry, and behind, a second line,* 
protected by parapets formed .of the trunks of trees; a tHirciline 
crowned the summit, which hkewise bristled with artillery. At 
the foot of this really impregnable position, a j)lain, somewhat 
more than 500 yards wide, stretched, overlooked by the fire of 
this triple line of defence, and ^wept by the*huge Federal batteries 
south of the Chickahominy. The watercourse already mentioned 
rendered all approach in front, over the. soft ground, very difficult. 
On all sides, in the plain, trees had been cut down,, for the double 
purpose of la)dng open the Confederates, and, the trunks being 
strewn all about on the ground, of keeping the enemy longer 
exposed to the shower of grape-shot all around them. This line - 
of battle covered the approaches of the bridges which connected 
the two wings of the Federals. 

General Lee had fixed his head-quarters in a house on Hogan's 
plantation, and there quietly awaited the moment when he should 
give the signal to engage. Hill and Longstreef s columns had 
halted on the plain, till the arrival of Jackson's right at Cold 
Harbour should be. signalled. Lee, calm and collected, was 
seated beneath a verandah in the rear of the house. A crowd of 
officers were on the walks and greensward. They conversed in 
whispers, while their chief, aside and alone, seemed buried in his 
own thoughts, his fine countenance impressed with a serious air, 
but without a shade of inquietude or irresolution. Presently a 
courier arrives full gallop, on a horse white with foam, and 
presents a letter to the general. After having thro^oi his eyes 


over the paper, Lee mounts his horse without losing a moment, 
and a report spreads that Jackson is approaching, and the battle 
going to commence. 

Longstreet's division, coming from Beaver Dam Creek, had, in 
an hour, arrived at a place near the Chickahominy, opposite the 
new Federal position. It was there that Lee rejoined it. He 
wore his simple uniform of grey cloth with brass buttons, three gold 
stars on the collar alone indicating his rank ; on his head was a 
grey felt hat with broad brims ; riding boots, and leather gloves, 
with large gauntlets, completed his costume. His confident look, 
fine figure, and ease on horseback made him an accomplished 
cavalier. Such he appeared to his soldiers, many of whom «aw 
him now for the first time. 

At the same moment A. P. Hill, whose division had suffered so 
much the evening before at Mechanicsville, and which reckoned 
now only ii,ooo bayonets, precipitated four of his brigades on the 
enemy's left at Cold Harbour. But although Hill kept on 
supporting them with^ all the soldiers he had left, in spite of 
repeated efforts, the Federals retained their positions. It was 
their turn to charge the exhausted troops of Hill. Lee counted 
on Jackson's arrival to turn the hostile lines, but he saw that 
while waiting Hill would be crushed; he therefore ordered • 
Longstreet to feign an attack on the Federal left and centre. The 
latter instantly advanced, but taking notice of the immense 
strength of the enemy's works, he felt that his feigned attack 
must be changed into a real one, if he wished to afford Hill 
any real help. Five brigades rushed to the assault in double 
quick time, but were received by a fire so terrible that they 
recoiled cowed. 

Night was approaching, and none of the attacks had finished. 
Happily at this moment the noise of the firing increases towards 
the Confederate left, and re-echoes loudly in the distance. A 
cry of joy and enthusiasm rises in the Southern ranks. " It is 
Jackson ! it is Jackson !" the soldiers repeat to one another. 


It was indeed he. He had marched all day, guided by the 
cannon which he heard thundering in the direction of the 
Chickahominy, and fearing to arrive too late, so much was his 
march delayed by unforeseen obstacles, watercourses, marshes, 
felled trees, abominable roads. He reached Cold Harbour at 
half-past five, when Longstreet was just assaulting the left of 
the enemy's position. He immediately ordered D. H. Hill's 
division to charge. Hardly was the order received before 
the latter rushed through everything, the marsh, the river, the 
brushwood, and the obstacles raised to guard the extreme right 
of MacClellan, thrusting everything he met before him, and at 
nightfall, by a last charge, he put the Federals to rout. General 
Ewell, however, had still to strive for four hours before he 
could render himself definitively master of the ground. It was 
not till ten o'clock at night that all the Federal position was 

Whiting's division arrived to succour Longstreet* just when the 
latter had been arrested by the crushing, fire of the Federal 
batteries. Hood and his Texas brigade were charged to snatch 
a victory from the enemy on that side. Already three of the four 
regiments which composed it had been cut down by the Federal 
fire, when Hood came and found the fourth regiment acting as a 
reserve, the men lying flat on their stomachs. He made it 
advance by the right flank to an orchard. " The ground," says 
an eye-witness, "was covered with the dead and dying. Every 
instant the ranks opened for panic-stricken fugitives to pass 
through. In front of us was the old ^rd Brigade who, but a few 
minutes before, had started with cheers to storm the fatal palisade. 
But the storm of iron and lead was too severe ; they wavered for 
a moment ; half of the column lay writhing on the ground, the 
remainder, throwing down their arms, sought refuge in flight. 
At this instant. General Hood, who had in person taken command 
of our regiment, commanded in his clear ringing voice : * Forward^ 
quick march P We were but 500. We had as supports behind us 


two regiments, one from Texas and one from Georgia. Hardly 


had we gone ten steps when our colonel fell dead. Volleys of 
musketry, and showers of grape^ canister,, and shell ploughed 
through us, but were only answered by the stem ^Close-up — close up 
to the colours P And onward we rushed over the dead and dying 
without a pause, until within about one. hundred yard? of the 
breastworks. We had reached the apex of the hill, and some of 
the men, seeing the enemy just before them, commenced to 
discharge their pieces. It was at this point that preceding 
brigades had halted, and beyond which no one had gone, in 
consequence of the terrible concentrated fire of the concealed 
enemy. At this critical juncture the voice of General Hood 
was heard above the din of battle: ^Forward, down on them 
with the bayonet P We made one grand rush for the fort, 
down the hill, across the creek and fallen timber, and the 
next minute saw our battle-flag planted upon the captured breast- 
work. The enemy, frightened at the rapid approach of pointed 
steel, rose up from behind his defences, and started for his second 
line at full speed. One volley was poured into their backs, and 
it seemed that every ball found a victim, so great was the 
slaughter. Their works were ours, and as our flag moved from 
the first to the second tier of defences, a shout arose from the 
shattered remnants of the 4th Texas. . . Right and left 

it was taken up, and rang along the line for miles, long after many 
of those who started it were in eternity." 

Supported by the reinforcements continually sent him. Hood 
pursued the enemy, took fourteen cannon, an entire Federal 
regiment, and rendered himself complete master of their works. 
This charge cost the Confederates 1,000 men. Once sure that 
the key of the Federal position was in his hands, Lee advanced 
his whole army and energetically crowded back the Northern 
troops toward the Chickahominy, crushing everything in his way. 
But during this time the darkness had become profound; the 
Southern army itself lost its alignment, and the country was 

• ' GENERAL LEE. 97 

ill-adapted for a night pursuit An order was therefore given to 
camp on the battle-field. 

The Federals retired in disorder towards the bridges, a large 
numbfer of them being a prey to unspeakable terror. Riderless 
horses ran about affrighted in all directions \ balls whistled ; here 
and thefe fell an unfortunate, hit unawares ; upset waggons, ambu- 
lances, cannons blocked the way; the poor wounded, limping, 
groaning, losing all their blood, dragged themselves into the midst 
of the affray ; the officers in vain addressed their soldiers to re- 
strain them, seeking to reason with them, supplicating them, and . 
in spite of themselves, carried away by the torrent of fugitives, — 
above all, the growling of the cannon, clouds of smoke rising over 
the field of battle, the red disc of the sun settling below the 
horizon, — formed a spectacle impossible to forget. 

Order Was partly restored at the bridges ; during the night most 
of the troops crossed the river; at 6 o'clock, a.m., the soldiers of 
the regular army were the last to go over, after which the bridge 
was set on fire. 

This contest at Cold Harbour was one of the most seriously 
disputed of the whole war. The Confederate victory determined 
the campaign. The losses of the two armies were great ; from 
7000 to 8000 on the Confederate side, from 6000 to 7000 on that 
of the Federals. 

General Lee the same night despatched to Richmond the 
following letter : — 

** Head-quarters, June 27th, 1862. 

" His Excellency President Davis. 

" Mr. President, — Profoundly grateful to Almighty God for 
the signal victory granted to us, it is my pleasing task to announce 
to you the success achieved by this army to-day. 

" The enemy was this morning driven from his strong position 
behind Beaver Dam Creek, and pursued to that behind Po white 
Creek, and finally, after a severe contest of five hours, entirely 
repulsed from the field 



" Night put an end to the contest. I grieve to state that] our 
loss in officers and men is great 

"We sleep on the field, and shall renew the contest in the 

" I have the honour to be, 

" Very respectfully, 

" R. E. Lee, (General)." 



macclellan's retreat. 

Thb battle of the Chickahominy or Cold Harbour was a 
decisive battle, whatever certain Northern writers may say, who 
pretend that it was only the first in a series of engagements, all 
nearly of equal importance, mere incidents in General Mac- 
Clellan*s change of front from the banks of the York to those of 
the James. This theory is difficult to support. Had this first 
encounter been a Federal victory General MacClellan would have 
marched straight on Richmond, without dreaming of losing time 
in a change of his base of operations, and the result would have 
been the taking of the city. The proof that it was a Federal 
defeat is precisely the necessity MacClellan was under of bearing 
towards the James, since his communications with the North by 
the White House were cut off. Far from being able to think of 
attacking Richmond, all he could do was to save his army. It is 
true he had an idea of changing his base of operations before the 
battle ; but, having lost it, he had no further choice. It was no 
longer an army full of spirits and hope which he was directing 
towards a stronger position than the one he left, but a tired and 
discouraged mob whom he drew after him, hastening to gain the 
River James, there to take refuge under the fire of his batteries, 
and so escape from the pursuit of an enemy bent on his de- 
struction. This result, deciding the whole campaign, was brought 
about by the battle of the Chickahominy. To wish, therefore, to 

H 2 


give no more prominence to this engagement than to those which 
followed it is to falsify history. 

However this may be, MacClellan at least was too good a 
soldier not to know that the battle of the 27 th had been decisive, 
and his resolution to beat a retreat was attested the night of the 
battle in an assembly at head-quarters, where he unfolded to his 
generals his plan and the motives which had dictated it. 

On the morning of the 28th of June, nearly all his army was 
concentrated on the southern side of the Chickahominy. Mac- 
Clellan gave proof, in the retreat which followed, of a rare skill 
and much vigour, surrounded as he was by dangers of all kinds. 
The advantages he was able to possess over his foe ought in no- 
wise to detract from the admiration due to the Federal general-in- 

One of these advantages was the uncertainty in which Lee was 
placed as to what his adversary was going to do. The latter could 
give battle to reconquer the railway from York River, or retire 
into the Peninsula, or towards the James. Lee found himself 
compelled to await his enemy's movements. It was very un- 
fortunate, but there was nothing to be done. Meanwhile Ewell 
took the railway from York River, the Federals retiring before him 
to the other side of the Chickahominy, burning the bridge and 
destroying the road. The clouds of dust coming from the Federal 
lines south of the river manifestly indicated that something was 
preparing. The Federals had just abandoned for good the York 
River railway; but on the side of the James the Confederates 
could not detect any sign of movement towards this river. It 
became^ therefore, more and more probable that it was to the 
Peninsula that MacClellan was directing his army. Ewell 
advanced, following the north bank of the Chickahominy, in the 
direction of the different fords leading to WDliamsburg, but without 
discovering anything. General %Stuart likewise made a sudden 
push towards the White House, taking, on his way, some convoys 
of provender and war material, capturing or putting to flight some 



scouts and squadrons of artillery. Towards night the blaze in the 
sky and the explosion of howitzers in the direction of the White 
House, showed that the enemy was destroying there all they could 
not carry off. At daybreak Stuart resumed his march, and arrived 
in sight of a Federal battery, with which he exchanged cannon 
shots. Stuart took at the White House considerable booty. Nine 
large barges, loaded with provisions, were burning as the Southern 
cavalry arrived ; the fire likewise devoured an immense number of 
tents, waggons, railway trucks loaded, five locomotives, buildings 
of all sorts, ammunition, and an immense amount of material, 
representing a total of several million dollars ; all was destroyed. 

Hence, turning to the south,the cavalry went, according to Lee's 
orders, and surveyed the bridges and fords over the Chickahominy, 
leading towards the Peninsula. At New Market, a group of houses 
near the James, between Richmond and the Federal lines, 6000 
men under General Holmes were posted, to hinder the enemy 
from approaching the river, and to advertise head-quarters of 
the first indication of a Federal movement The zSth, therefore, 
was passed in watching the enerciy, completely hidden by the 
woody nature of the country, and the lines of defence which 
sheltered him. All the Confederate army received orders to rest 
under arms all night between the 28th and agth of June, in order 
to advance without losing a moment directly it was known in what 
direction MacClellan would retire. All the tokens which came to 
him confirmed General Lee in his idea that the Northern army 
was preparing for a general movement, and as nothing indicated 
that it would be towards the Peninsula, it could only be in the 
direction of the James. 

Lee was right During daytime on the aSth, MacClellan 
occupied all the defensive points which could protect the passage 
of his army across that series of bogs knoivn under the general 

me of the White Oak Swamp. 5000 ambulances, waggons, 

mbrils, and 2500 bullocks, were driven by the single and only 
dwhidi traversed this district During the night of the 28th, 


Porter's division also retired by the same way. The corps of 
Sumner, Heintzelman, and Smith received orders to remain north 
of the swamp, on the side of Richmond, during the whole day on 
the 29th, till all the conveyances and supplies were out of danger. 
Although Lee had no doubt about what was occurring, everything 
was done with such order, that he was not assured of the Federal 
retreat till 'discovering at sunrise on the 29th that their lines were 

Presently Longstreet and A. P. Hill recrossed the Chickahominy 
at New Bridge, and took the road which goes from Derbytown 
to Long Bridge. Huger quitted his intrenchments, and his 
columns defiled by the Charles City Road to fall on the Federal 
flank. Magruder, following the route to Williamsburg, was to 
attack their rear ; and Jackson, recrossing the river at Grape-vine 
Bridge, and then passing Savage Station, was to rejoin Magruder. 
Lee hoped thus to cut off the enemy's retreat, and capture or 
destroy the greater part of his army. All the Confederate columns 
were early on the march; on the 29th Jackson alone, who was 
obliged to repair the bridge at Grape-vine, could not cross the 
Chickahominy till the evening. 

Lee*s arrangements were excellent, but MacClellan had twenty- 
four hours* advance, which, joined to the nature of the country 
the two armies had to travel, gave him advantages that no pursuit 
could deprive him of, however vigorous and well-combined. 

Magruder, going through the fortified outposts and positions 
just abandoned, and passing enormous quantities of war material, 
chiefly in good condition, arrived at Savage Station towards 
evening. There the Federal General Sumner's corps was await- 
ing him. A sanguinary conflict ensued, to which the darkness 
of night alone put an end. During the night Sumner retreated 
across the White Oak Swamp, destroying all the bridges in his 
rear, and all the war-material he could at Savage Station. The 
Confederates took several hundred prisoners, and found a large 
number of men killed and wounded in the recent engagement, 


and likewise a hospital of 2500 invalids. Unfortunately, already 
the Confederates were ill-provided with medicines for the wounded, 
and the Federals left but few behind them. 

It will not, perhaps, here be uninteresting to recount, following 
a Northern narrative, some of the scenes which took place during 
the retreat of the Northern army across this lab)nrinth of marshes 
and soft ground, rendered still more inauspicious by* drenching 
rains, and by the thick wood covering their surface : 

" The line of retreat was straight through the middle of White 
Oak Swamp. Under one's eyes was the sad spectacle of thousands 
of wounded dragging themselves along as best they could, in an 
extended file. All the ambulances which could be got together 
were laden with such of the unfortunate wounded as could bear 
the journey. Many who could not be so carried fell into the 
hands of the enemy. In the distance shone the fires of the 
Confederate outposts. The night was very dark, and the clouds 
seemed to forebode a tempest, but, no matter how exhausted the 
soldiers were, they could not stop, they must march all night. 

" Savage Station is about six miles from the White Oak Swamp 
Bridge. Over this extent a confused multitude of horses, waggons, 
cannons, ambulances, pontoons, and all the material of a vast 
army, was hastening. Sometimes a stoppage occurred; it is 
impossible to describe the confusion then resulting. The waggons, 
twenty abreast, blocked the road. The officers made unheard-of 
efforts to extricate them ; the drivers swore, the horses plunged, 
and accidents to the carriages added to the general disorder. 
That day there was but little fighting, as the enemy was ignorant 
of our movements. The sun rose on the 29th of June over this 
scene of tumult and consternation. The heat of the day was 
oppressive; not a breath of air was felt. Behind us the 
incessant noise of musketry and growling of artillery were heard. 
At every footstep set we left all along the road some dead, 
as well as those too seriously wounded to allow of their trans- 
port Many of our men threw away their knapsacks and other 


incumbrances, retaining only their arms. Others, being affected 
with sun-stroke, fell down, foaming at the mouth, a prey to 
delirium. Cannon-balls, shells, from time to time burst over us, 
as a warning that the enemy was not far off. Occasionally our 
rear-guard halted, and then the battle was furiously renewed. • 

" Black clouds brought early darkness, and torrents of rain 
began to fall Our rear hastened its march through the darkness 
and tempest The forest was illumined by incessant lightning ; 
the thunder was, every minute, growling above our heads. Pell- 
mell on the narrow road, horse-soldiers, foot-soldiers, artillerymen, 
all confused and intermingled with, guns, waggons, columns of 
infantry, and squadrons of cavalry, we rolled onwards like a 
gloomy torrent, except when the lightning whitened our bayonets, 
and made the frightful scene still more hideous : on the right 
and left of the road, where the ground presented a firmer bottom, 
the multitude of fugitives hurried along. Shattered carts, for- 
saken ammunition-waggons, debris of all kinds, marked the line 
which the routed army was following. We spoke in whispers. 
Every sort of noise was avoided, such was the haste to get out 
of this horrible marsh before daylight. Sometimes a poor soldier 
would throw himself on the ground for a few moments' sleep ; 
then, awaking with a start, pale with fright at the idea of falling 
into the hands of the enemy, he would continue his way half 

It was, indeed, a terrible march. General Jackson arrived at 
the bridge over the White Oak Swamp on the morning of June 
30th. His vanguard had taken above a thousand prisoners, and 
so many arms were scattered on the ground, that it was necessary 
to detach two Northern Carolina regiments to gather them and 
ca^rry them to the rear. The bridge was destroyed, and the 
enemy in force on the other side disputed the passage. Twent)'- 
eight guns soon swept the opposite bank, and the Confederate 
skirmishers passed the water-course, but could not maintain them- 
selves on the other side. The enemy disputed the ground so 


vigorously till night, that Jackson could not advance, although the 
cannonade at the other extremity of the marshes indicated to him 
sufficiently clearly that the struggle in which Longstreet was 
engaged was becoming warmer and warmer. But it was totally 
impossible to force the passage ; there was only a very narrow 
ford, completely commanded by the enemy's fire. It would have 
been madness to attempt to cross. 

While Jackson was champing his bit, Longstreet, the same 
afternoon, had arrived very near Quaker Road, which the Federal 
army travelled in its precipitate course towards the James. Long 
Bridge Road, by which Longstreet was approaching, intersected 
Quaker Road at right angles, very near the place where the latter 
enters the White Oak Swamp. A little further on, Charles City 
Road also joins Quaker Road. Huger came by the Charles City 
Road, while Jackson pursued the Federal rear by Quaker Road. 
Should these three columns succeed in helping each other, and 
fall on MacClellan at the same time, Lee would have all his 
army united, and it would be all over with the Federals. It was, 
therefore, of the last importance to hinder this concentration, and 
so secure to the Federal general-in-chief time to draw his army 
from the dangerous position into which it had fallen, and con- 
centrate it in the plains within reach of the James, where it would 
have nothing further to fear. For this, three things were neces 
sary : to hinder Jackson from penetrating the White Oak Swamp, 
which had already taken place ; to hold the cross roads between 
Long Bridge Road and Quaker Road against Longstreet till the 
Federal army had defiled in safety ; and lastly, to prevent Huger's 
column joining that of Longstreet Huger, whose movements 
were a little slow, could not issue from the Charles City Road till 
the morning of July ist. 

To resist Longstreet, who arrived on the ground at one o'clock, 
p.m., on the 29th, MacClellan posted the Pennsylvanian reserves, 
under General MacCall, parallel to the Quaker Road, extending 
to the New Market Road, and supported by three Federal 


divisions. General Holmes, on the extreme Confederate right, 
opened a smart fire on the Federal positions at Malvern Hill, 
but without result, the gun-boats on the James having been put 
into use on the other side. 

Although Huger had sent word in the morning that his march 
was slackened because of the obstacles he met with, Lee's need of 
him was so great, that, in consequence of the pressing orders 
transmitted to him, he was in line in the afternoon. When, 
therefore, Longstreet disposed his forces in order of battle at 
Frazier's Farm, Lee, who was with that part of the army, believed 
he could fully count on Huger and Jackson's corps in his general 
attack on the Federal lines, completely ignorant that Jackson had 
been unable to cross the White Oak Swamp. 

About four o'clock, the noise of cannon sounded from the side 
of the Charles City Road. Believing it was General Huger, 
Longstreet opened fire with one battery only, to show where he 
was, but JIuger did not come, and the enemy answering by a 
furious cannonade, the combat began. Longstreet hurled his 
cavalry against MacCall ; — the struggle became intense ; — the 
ground would not allow of an attack by the whole body of troops. 
Nevertheless, in spite of the enemy's superior number, and their 
admirably directed artillery fire, the Confederates kept advancing. 
General A. P. Hill received orders to support Longstreet with all 
his division. A determined charge met with full success ; several 
batteries were taken at the point of the bayonet, and the guns 
afterwards being turned upon the enemy, they were driven from 
their positions. General MacCall was taken prisoner. The 
battle lasted till nine o'clock, p.m. The Federals had given way 
throughout their whole line, except on the right, where they 
maintained themselves most desperately. The ground was dis- 
puted inch by inch, but the battle-field, again excepting the right, 
remained with the Confederates, who thus obtained the dead and 
wounded of the Federal army, 14 cannons, and many prisoners, 
jl General Huger could have arrived in time to attack the right 


as Lee intended, the Northern army would have suffered a great 

Thanks to the delay forced on Jackson and the non-arrival of 
Huger, MacClellan was able to thread the dangerous passages of 
the White Oak Swamp with the rest of his army, whilst his rear- 
guard kept Jackson in play, and his left wing resisted Longstreet. 
General Franklin having retired from the Swamp during the night 
with the Federal rearguard, Jackson was able to pursue his route, 
and the next morning rejoin the Confederate army on the battle- 
field of the previous evening. The Federal army was concentrated 
at Malvern Hill. All the dangers threatening it had passed away 
with the combat at Frazier's Farm. The Confederates could no 
longer hope to cut off its retreat towards the James, for on the 
30th of June, that is, the preceding night, its van had reached this 
river, while its artillery and waggons were parked behind Malvern 
Hill, and MacClellan was in communication with the Federal 

Lee's only course now was to force a battle. He knew well 
that, if successful, the Northern army would be at his mercy ; if the 
affair was not decisively in his favour, the worst that could happen 
was that the enemy would be able to traverse the few remaining 
miles separating him from the river. Jackson, therefore, following 
the Willis Church Road, hastened to get in front of the Federal 
position at Malvern Hill, a position, by the way, remarkably well- 
chosen. It was an elevated plain nearly two miles long, and 
somewhat more than half a mile broad. Masses of infantry, deep 
and dense, lined this table-land, crowned by 60 huge pieces of 
ordnance. The Northern army formed a semi-circle, of which 
Malvern Hill formed the left and a part of the centre, while the 
right inclined towards the river, through woods and ravines. It 
rested thus on the James, ready, in case of need, to take shelter 
under the fire of its gunboats. At the foot of Malvern Hill the 
country was without trees, but marshy and uneven ; the fire of the 
batteries and gunboats swept it in all directions. Lee had given 


orders to bring all available artillery into line, in order, as a pre- 
liminary step, to reduce the Federal batteries to silence, and throw 
disorder ara'ong the columns of infantry ranged for the contest. 
But the difficulties of the ground were such, that the Confederates 
could never get their cannon up in time, and to oppose the magnifi- 
cent Federal batteries they had but 8 or lo pieces, which were 
speedily put out of the combat. About six o'clock,' General D. 
H. Hill, deceived by what he thought was the signal for attack, 
charged with all his division, but, finding himself unsupported, 
although Jackson might have hastened to his aid, he was obliged 
to retire with great loss. Jackson's artillery continued to fire on 
the Federal position, but his infantry did not stir. 

Magruder also, on the Confederate right, made an attempt, 
which ended like Hill's. The flux and reflux of the rival armies 
lasted till night. Without being able to capture the Federal 
batteries, through the impossibility of keeping up a convergent 
fire from all their cannon, the Confederates, nevertheless, inflicted 
seiious losses on the Northern infantry, and camped on the battle- 

MacClellan profited by the night to withdraw his forces, and 
lead them towards Harrison's Landing and Westover. Although 
he had succeeded in repulsing the late Confederate assaults, yet his 
army had sustained frightful damage. It became absolutely 
necessary to seek shelter under the fire of the gunboats. The 
attacks of the enemy had been so vigorous and persevering, making 
such great gaps in the Northern ranks, that MacClellan's army, 
already much tried by this long six days' retreat, and these san- 
guinary conflicts, had become completely demoralized. At this 
critical moment the Federal general-in-chief was afraid to risk 
another battle, even in the strong position occupied by him. Many 
killed and wounded were found in the abandoned works, as well as 
two pieces of cannon, a large number of carriages, tumbrils, and 
ambulances, and quantities of war-material which had belonged 
to the commissariat, the medical service, and the engineers. 



Enormous quantities of munitions had been thrown into the 
ravines, and on all sides appeared signs of a precipitate retreat. 

General Lfee*s troops, for that matter, were hardly less fatigued 
than the army flying towards the James. They, also, had fought 
for six days, had marched a very difficult road day and night, had 
suffered cruel losses. No consequence, however ; for the next day, 
July the 2nd, in spite of a drenching rain which fell continually, 
Stuart*s cavalry pressed the Federal rear with vigour, making 
prisoners, and leaving it no rest. Towards evening, Longstreet 
arrived to support him. But the enemy had raised intrenchments 
on a plateau, Evelington*s Heights, which they fortified during the 
night. The whole Federal army was encamped along the river — 
the plateau was strongly fortified — two creeks covered the two 
flanks, which were likewise defended by intrenchments and gun- 
boats. It was therefore decided not to risk an assault against so 
strong a position — an assault which must have cost an enormous 
sacrifice of human Hfe. 

Under these circumstances Lee resolved to draw his army 
nearer Richmond, to give his harassed men some days* rest, till 
MacClellan's movements were more clearly defined. 

The critics who blame Lee for not having, on the day after the 
battle of Malvern Hill, pursued his foe vigorously, and crushed 
him, forget the state in which his army was. It was not without 
prolonged and heroic efforts that it had successively taken in- 
trenched positions, chosen with the greatest care, and defended 
with the greatest valour; that it had, for twenty-five miles 
from the first field of battle, driven before it an enemy 
having the disposal of much more numerous forces, much 
better equipped, and with much better tools. The Federal 
artillery in particular was excellent, formed on the most recent 
models, while that of the Confederates was quite as inferior. The 
country in which this struggle took place was naturally favourable 
for defence, and it cannot be denied that MacClellan had reaped 
great advantage from it He displayed talents of the first order 


during this retreat ; and an army which was able, in the midst of 
so many trials and disasters, to continue fighting all day and 
marching all night, enduring its defeats bravely and without flinch- 
ing, deserves the respect and admiration of both friends and foes. 
Still MacClellan was wrong, on July 4th, to publish an order of 
the day but little suitable to the part of a conquered general. 

Lee's army was too much exhausted for him to think of pushing 
his advantages further. He had compelled his adversary to 
abandon the line of the Chickahominy. The people of the South 
were very thankful to him for this great boon. Lee was always 
sparing of the life of his soldiers, first by temperament, and secondly 
because he knew that if misfortune happened to this army, the 
South had not another to replace it. Consequently it is but 
natural that the Southern generalissimo, satisfied with the brilliant 
successes he had gained, preferred to reserve it for the future, 
where so many trials still awaited it 

The total loss of the Confederates during this campaign amounted 
to 19,533 killed, wounded, and disappeared. Among them were 
many oflftcers of high rank, and several generals. 

The Federals left in the hands of the Confederates more than 
10,000 prisoners, and, at the lowest, their losses were upwards of 
25,000 men, among whom were many officers and generals; 52 
cannons and 35,000 rifles, as well as vast quantities of war-material, 
became the property of the conquerors. But this was little, com- 
pared with what the Federals themselves destroyed during the retreat. 

On the 7th of July, while still in the presence of the Federal 
army on the James River, General Lee addressed to his soldiers 
an order of the day, in which, after having humbly thanked " Him 
from whom all victories come," he congratulated his troops on 
their valour, and the brilliant results of this short campaign. 

Lee had thus saved the Southern capital at the moment when he 
first took command of the Confederate army, by a blow struck at 
his adversary, a blow as sudden as irresistible. The dissatisfied, 
of whom there are always some, discovered that he had not done 


enough, that he ought to have annihilated the Federal army ; but 
the great mass of people welcomed him with joy on his return 
to Richmond, and received him as its saviour. He took these 
demonstrations of puhUc favour with that quiet dignity which 
never left him, whether in the hour of triumph or that of defeat. 
He saw perfectly, on the and of July, that the Confederate Slates 
were as far as ever from having ottained the object of the war. 
MacCIehan had been beaten, but the inexhaustible resources 
of the Government of the United States, Lee well knew, would 
allow it to raise and equip other and still greater armies. 

From the strictly military point of view, MacCIellan was far 
more threatening on the James than if he had remained on the 
Ciiickahominy. He had no longer anything to fear, now that his 
left wing was supported on a river where he possessed a whole 
flotilla of gunboats. His position was such that the Confederates 
could not drive him from it. Besides, he couid at leisure cross the 
James and assault Petersburg, the capture of which would probably 
lead to the abandonment of Richmond, for this little town was 
situated in the direct line of all die communications of the 
Confederate capital with the rest of the South. With MacCIellan 
to the south of Richmond, the Confederate government would not 
be able to dream of detaching a single man towards the North. 
The Federal general had still 85,000 men and 150 cannons ; he 
could render services to his government of much greater import 
here than elsewhere. Further, the North would have been able to 

. double the forces of MacClellan's army ; but, in spile of his 
rotestations, justice was not done to his demands, and other 
■nts turned away public atlenrion from the banks of the James. 
General Lee was not ignorant of any of the dangers which the 

Pt>resenceofhis adversary on the James made him run, if the latter 
felt himself sufficiently strong to give effect to his projects. To 
disquiet him, and, if possible, force him to retire, D. H. Hill was 
sent to the southern bank of the river. From Cozzin's Point, 
Opposite the Federal encampment, a battery of forty-three guns, 


on the night of the 31st of July, opened a very lively fire on the 
enemy's hundreds of ships, and on the hostile camp. The 
vessels were nearly a mil^ off, and numerous lights, both on land 
and water, offered to the gunners capital marks. The army and 
fleet were sleeping in profound peace, little dreaming of the 
danger threatening them. Shortly after midnight, the Confederate 
guns simultaneously opened their fire, and for an hour the roar of 
the cannons mingled with the confused cries of soldiers and 
sailors. The gunboats presently responded, but without much 
effect. Little by little the firing ceased. Next day, the Con- 
federates having retired, MacClellan occupied Cozzin's point. 

North of Richmond, General Jackson, followed soon by other 
troops, occupied Gordonsville, there to hold in check the Federal 
army commanded by General Pope. General Stuart, on the 5 th of 
August, routed two brigades of Northern cavalry, and pursued 
them towards Fredericksburg. 

Some movements of MacClellan*s army decided Lee to get 
near his adversary. Advancing in order of battle, the Confederate 
general, on the 5 th of August, found the enemy in force at Malvern 
Hill, behind his old intrenchments. After some evolutions, which 
led to no result, MacClellan retired to Westover, and Lee 
re-entered his lines. This was the last demonstration made by 
MacClellan before quitting the Peninsula. The evacuation began 
on the 1 6th of August. A part of the army and baggage went by 
water; the rest took the land road, passing by Yorktown to 
Fortress Monroe. On the i8th of August, the rear-guard crossed 
the Chickahominy. As soon as General Lee was sure that 
MacClellan was finally quitting the James River, he led his 
army towards the position occupied on the Rapidan by Jackson, 
whom he rejoined on the 15th of August. 

Let us return for an instant to speak of an address sent by 
General MacClellan to President Lincoln. This important 
writing belongs to history. It not only throws a new light on the 
character and views of the most worthy foe whom Lee encountered. 


but, with admirable clearness, expresses the feelings of a great 
portion of the Northern people at that moment. The President 
had asked of General MacClellan a statement of his opinion on 
the conduct 0/ the war, and, on the 7th of July, amid those disas- 
trous scenes at Harrison's Landing, the General wrote these truly 
remarkable words : — ' 

"This rebelUon has assumed the character of a waf; as such it 
would be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest 
principles known to Christian civihzation. It should not be a war 
looking to the subjection of any state in any event. It should not 
be at all a war upon population, but against armed forces and 
political organization. Neither confiscation of property, political 
executions, territorial organizations of states, nor forcible abolition 
of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment In prose- 
cuting the war, all private property and unarmed persons should 
be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of military 
operations. All private property taken for military uses should be 
paid or receipted for ; pillage and waste should be treated as high 
crimes ; all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited ; and offensive 
demeanour by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. 
Mihtary arrests should not be tolerated, except in places where 
active hostilities exist; and oaths, not required by enactments 
constitutionally made, should be neither demanded nor received. 
Military government should be confined to the preservation of 
public order and the protection of political right Military 
power should not be allowed to interfere with the relations of 
servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the 
master, except for repressing disorder. . . Slaves, contraband 
under the act of Congress, seeking military protection should 
receive it The right of government to appropriate permanently 
to its own service claims to slave labour should be asserted, 
and the right of the owner to compensation, therefore, should be 
recognised. . . . 

". . . . A system of policy thus constituted, and pervaded by the 



influences of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support 
of almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel 
masses and all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped 
that it would commend itself to the favour of the Almighty. 

" Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our 
struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain 
requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical 
views, especially on slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present 

" The policy of the government must be supported by concen- 
trations of military power. The national forces should not be 
dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupation, and numerous 
armies ; but should be mainly collected into masses, and brought 
to bear upon the armies of the Confederate States. These armies 
thoroughly defeated, the political structure which they support 
would soon cease to exist. 

" In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you 
will require a commander-in-chief of the army, — one who possesses 
your confidence, understands your views, and who is competent 
to execute your orders, by directing the military forces of the 
nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I 
do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in 
such positions as you may assign me, and I will do so as faithfully 
as ever subordinate served superior. I may be on the brink of 
eternity, and, as I hope forgiveness from my Maker, I have 
written this letter with sincerity towards you, and from love for my 

This noble and warm statement of his views does the greatest 
honour to General MacClellan, especially when it is remembered 
that he wrote it on July 7th, smarting under the blow of the 
sanguinary check he had just experienced. His self-esteem had 
been wounded by it, his spirit exasperated ; but in this report no 
traces of such feeling are allowed to be seen, and yet, it must be 
said, it seems that the man who could be sincere in writing these 


lines ought never to have consented to take part in a war evidently 
so contrary to his inward convictions. 

This fine epistle was doomed to have no eflfect at Washington, 
as is proved to conviction by the fashion in which this inauspicious 
war was carried on afterwards. 

In consequence, it is said, of the opinions expressed above by 
MacClellan, altogether contrary to those of the party then in 
power, it was thought necessary to dismiss him from his duties. 
He had an especially determined enemy in General Halleck, the 
Federal War Minister. MacClellan wished to cross the James, 
attack Petersburg, and so cut off all communications between 
Richmond and the rest of the South. This plan, which succeeded 
later, in 1865, with General Grant, was not approved by General 
Halleck and the President, in 1862, probably because they had 
decided on dismissing MacClellan. 

General Lee, on this matter, shared the view of General 
MacClellan. To those in his confidence he explained how much 
more vulnerable Richmond was on the southern side. The 
course of events proved it. 

I 2 




Although the presence of Jackson's corps at the battle of Cold 
Harbour might have been ascertained, so great was the fright 
which his unforeseen movements had caused in the councils of 
President Lincoln, that it was decided a Federal army should 
remain between Washington and the Rappahannock to cover the 
capital Fremont and Banks received orders to cross the moun- 
tains and join MacDowell's corps, and thus to constitute an army 
of 60,000 men. The whole were put under the orders of Major- 
General Pope, who had signalised himself in the West by some 
successes more imaginary than real — so said slander. This army 
was called the army of Virginia. Pope was full of energy, and 
might probably have distinguished himself as a division-general 
under a skilful leader, but he was entirely unfit for the command- 
in-chief. Although the principal mission of the new general-in- 
chief was to cover Washington, it was well understood that his 
ultimate object was Richmond. 

The defeat of the army of the Potomac spread consternation in 
the North. MacClellan's enemies, at whose head were General 
Halleck, who had succeeded General Scott - as generalissimo, 
and the War Minister, Staunton, profited by it to ruin him. 
Without taking account of the skill and energy he had shown, and 
which, indeed, had saved the army of the Potomac, Mr. Lincoln, 


on the sth of August, transmitted MacClellan an order to retire 
from the Peninsula, and join his forces with those of General 
Pope in the neighbourhood of Acquia Creek, on the Potomac. 
If Mr. Lincoln could have known that in recalling MacClellan he 
was doing precisely what Lee most desired, perhaps he would 
have altered his mind. 

Otherwise, the Federal Government acted with vigour, and 
military operations, except in Virginia, were conducted with 
success. In the west and south, the entire course of the 
Mississippi, except at Vicksburg, was in its hands. New Orleans 
and Memphis belonged to it, and the Confederate army of the 
west had retired from Corinth to Tupelo. But MacClellan's 
defeat paled all these triumphs. Without losing heart. President 
Lincoln made another appeal for 300,000 soldiers. Congress 
enacted several important laws ; one confiscating the slaves of all 
who supported the Southern cause ; another authorizing the levy 
of negro troops ; a third enjoining on Federal officers to seize 
and make use of, for their convenience, all property belonging to 
the Southerners, landed or moveable, without at all indemnifying 
the persons so despoiled. Thus, the Southern States were thrust 
beyond the pale of the law, and the Draconian programme of the 
radicals had it all its own way. 

The arrival of General Pope's army in Northern Virginia was 
signalised by several orders of the day remarkable for their 
brutality, and for the iniquitous system so inaugurated of making 
war contrary to the usages of civilized nations. 

Every time damage was done to a railway, high-road, or tele- 
graph, all the inhabitants for two miles round were obliged to 
repair it at their own expense. If a shot were fired from a house 
on a Federal soldier or other servant, that house was rased to the 
ground, and those who lived in it sent to prison. Everybody 
taken in the act was shot on the spot. 

One of Pope's subordinates, Brigadier-General Steinwehr, 
hastened to put these orders into execution. He arrested five 


of the most notable citizens of Luray, in Page County, Virginia, 
and kept them as hostages. They were admitted to his table and 
decently treated, but for every soldier who fell under the bullets of 
guerillas, numerous in those parts, and, indeed, at all times of 
disorder, one of these hostages was to be shot The order of the 
day added that guerillas could not maintain their stand were they 
not encouraged by the. citizens of the country. If the pretext 
urged by Pope had been true, perhaps these measures might have 
been excusable ; but the damage done to railways was the work of 
Confederate soldiers acting under the orders of their government 
It was in cases of legitimate defence that Federal soldiers were 
slain. The true end of these orders of the day, inspired by the 
radicals, was to strike terror into the Virginians. The honour- 
able spirit of MacClellan would never have lent itself to such 

But Pope dared still more. He published a new order of the 
day, directing officers under his command to arrest all the inhabi- 
tants of localities occupied by Federal troops. Those of them 
who consented to pay fealty and homage to the United States, 
giving sufficient guarantees, would be authorized to remain in their 
houses. Those, on the contrary, who refused to take the oath 
demanded would be conducted to the Confederate outposts. 
They were cautioned that if they reappeared in the neighbourhood 
of their old dwellings they would be treated as spies, and shot 
without mercy. Whoever violated the oath taken was likewise 
shot, and all his goods confiscated. Whoever had the least con- 
nection with persons within the enemy's lines, whoever was 
surprised carrying letters or any other communication whatever, 
was to be treated as a spy. 

These measures scattered consternation. To take an oath to 

the Federal Government filled everybody with horror : exile was 

•complete ruin. Despite all representations made to General 

), he persisted in his orders. Authorized to live at the 

ise of the Confederate country, the Northern troops did not 


delay to assume habits of pillage much to be regretted. Nothing 
escaped them. Nothing was left to the unfortunate inhabitants. 
The greatest trickery the Federal soldiers conceived was to palm 
off in the district false Confederate bank notes, which the 
Virginians, unsuspicious of the deceit, eagerly accepted. In 
order the more effectually to deliver up the conquered country to 
the brutal appetites of his soldiers. General Pope, by a new order 
of the day, forbade the placing of sentinels to protect certain 
estates, which some of the officers had had the delicacy to do. 

At length the Confederate Government was obliged to interfere. 
A proclamation of President Davis, bearing date August ist, 1862, 
after having recited all the measures adopted by General Pope, 
the result of which was to cause a war, hitherto an enterprise 
against regular troops, to degenerate into an expedition of 
maurauders, pillagers, and brigands, against peaceable and un- 
armed citizens occupied in field labours ; added that the Con- 
federate Government, influenced by a sentiment of justice and 
humanity, did not wish to make use of reprisals towards mere 
Federal soldiers happening to be prisoners, who could only be 
the invpluntary instruments of such cruelties, but that formal 
orders had been given that Generals Pope and Stein wehr, as well 
as all the officers serving under these two generals, should no 
longer be treated as soldiers and exchanged on parole ; and, 
further, that all Federal officers taken after the day of the pro- 
clamation should be imprisoned securely, and that in every case 
where a citizen of the Confederate States was assassinated under 
any pretext whatever, a Federal officer should be hung for each 
Confederate shot. 

This proclamation produced its effect. On the 15 th of August 
the Federal Government modified its instructions so as to satisfy 
the legitimate demands of the Confederates. General Pope, 
indeed, pretended that his orders had been misinterpreted. Be 
that as it may, the evil was cut at its root. All motives for 
reprisal having ceased, on the 24th of September, 97 officers 


of Pope's army, retained as hostages, were exchanged. But this 

general had none the less profited by the few days he had had. 

When his soldiers invaded the Rappahannock district it was full 

of life and prosperity. On their departure it was nearly a desert, 

and the inhabitants were reduced to beggary. 

As soon as Pope had assembled his 60,000 men, he conducted 
them, on July ist, by the Orange and Alexandria Railway, to the 
Rappahannock, thus menacing Gordonsville and Charlottesville. 
If he succeeded in occupying these two points, he hoped to inter- 
cept Lee's communications with the south-west of Virginia. He 
estabUshed himself at Culpepper, his right extending towards the 
Blue Ridge, and his left to the Rapidan. 

The Washington Government manifestly sought to mystify 
General Lee, and leave him in doubt as to the ulterior operations 
of the Federals. Would MacClellan recommence his attack on 
Richmond from the James River side, or was the real movement 
to be made from the north ? Without troubling about this matter, 
the Southern general remained with the bulk of his army under 
Richmond, contenting himself with sending Jackson, on the 13th 
of July, with two divisions, in the direction of Gordonsville. Lee 
prudently observed all that was passing, both on the James and on 
the Upper Rappahannock. Pope's movement could only be a feint, 
but on the 27 th of July, MacClellan still giving no signs of life, 
A. P. Hill's division was detached to support Jackson, while 
General D. H. Hill, on the south bank of the James, disturbed 
General MacClellan's communications both by his evolutions and 
the fire of his artillery. 

But the time was approaching when it would be necessary for 
the Federals to unmask their real design. On the 2nd of August, 
Jackson took the offensive by attacking the enemy at Orange 
Court House. On August 5th, MacClellan made a vigorous de- 
monstration against the Confederate lines to hinder Lee from 
sending new reinforcements to his lieutenant The Federals were 
massed in close column on Malvern Hill, where they drew up in 


order of battle, as if MacClellan's intention were to renew his 
march on Richmond. Lee immediately accepted the challenge, 
and a trifling engagement took place at Curl's Neck. The next 
morning the Federal army had disappeared, and it became plain 
that all this show of force had been but a feint 

This situation lasted till the middle of August, when Lee learnt 
most positively that the fleet bringing General Bumside and his 
troops, who were returning from the coasts of Carolina, were 
directed towards the Rappahannock to reinforce Pope. Hence- 
forward it was clear that the true movement was to be on this 

Jackson had just struck the enemy a formidable blow, energeti- 
cally co-operating, as was his wont, in the general plan. Mac- 
Clellan had endeavoured to retain Lee before Richmond ; Jackson, 
on the other hand, hastened the recall of MacClellan's army by a 
vigorous combat which he had with the Federals. He crossed the 
Rapidan at the head of his three divisions, and, on August the 9th, 
attacked Pope's van at Cedar Run. The contest was obstinate. 
At one period Jackson's left suffered much, but at night the action 
was terminated by the retreat of the Federals, and the Confederate 
General remained master of the battle-field. He had, however, but 
few forces to maintain himself against the bulk of the hostile army 
which was advancing ; there was nothing for him, therefore, but 
to retire behind the Rapidan, into the vicinity of Gordonsville, 
where General Lee soon rejoined him with the greater part of the 
Confederate army. 

Jackson's vigorous demonstration seriously disturbed the Federal 
staff. General Halleck immediately recalled General MacClellan, 
and ordered him to join General Pope as soon as possible. Thus 
the combat at Cedar Run had at one and the same time stopped 
Pope's march and delivered Richmond from the presence of 

The theatre of war was about to change. We must turn our 
look to other districts in order to appreciate the magnificent 


campaigns of the summer and autumn of 1862, in Southern 
Virginia and Maryland. 

Lee had, as we know, conducted all his military operations with 
the greatest prudence, determined to allow his opponents to take 
no advantage, and to remain firm under the walls of the Con- 
federate capital till all danger had passed. The junction of Bum- 
side and Pope relieved him for the future from taking so many 
precautions. Besides, the numerous reinforcements sent by Mac- 
Clellan to Pope's army indicated very clearly the plans of the 
Washington Cabinet. " It appeared evident," said General Lee, 
" that all movements on the James had been abandoned." Whence 
he sagaciously concluded that the surest means of succouring Rich- 
mond was to augment Jackson's troops, and force Pope back 
beyond the Rappahannock. Lee in this gave proof of military 
talents of a superior order. He took in at a glance — and this con- 
stitutes clear foresight — what was to be done, and displayed that 
resolution which executes without hesitation. 

He gave orders to Longstreet's division, and the two brigades 
under General Hood, to leave Richmond on the 13th, and march 
to Gordonsville. Stuart was to leave at Fredericksburg a corps of 
cavalry sufficient to watch the enemy and guard the central rail- 
way, and to put the rest of his cavalry at General Jackson's 
disposal. The two divisions of D. H. Hill and MacLaws, two 
brigades under General Walker, and the cavalry brigade under 
General Hampton, remained on the James to watch the Federals. 

Longstreet reached Gordonsville on the isth of August. Lee 
closely followed him. On the i6th the Federal army approached 
the Rapidan. The Confederate general-in-chief lost not an instant 
in disposing his forces so as to turn it. Stuart was ordered to 
cross the river on the extreme Federal right, to bum the railway 
bridge of the Rappahannock on the line of communication between 
Pope and Washington, to destroy the permanent way and telegraph, 
a.nd take his course towards Culpepper Court House in the rear of 
the Federal army. Longstreet, with the Confederate right wing. 


was to cross the Rapidan at Racoon Ford, and march straight on 
Culpepper. Jackson was to ford the same river at Somerville 
Ford, keeping to the left of I^ongstreet R, H. Anderson would 
follow with the reserves. In this way Lee would be on Pope*s left 
flank, and the latter would run the risk of being annihilated. 
But the Federal general had wind of what was preparing, and 
retired in hot haste, on the i8th and 19th, to the rear of the* 

On the 20th, the whole Confederate army were on its banks, 
having crossed the Rapidan without hindrance, a few cavalry 
skirmishes only excepted. Lee, seeing all the fords of the Rappa- 
hannock strongly guarded, resolved to repeat his previous 
manoeuvre, and disposed the bulk of his army so as to mask the 
flank movement entrusted to Jackson. The latter stole away on 
the 22nd, and reached Warrenton Springs in the evening, on the 
old road from Warrenton to Culpepper Court House. Finding 
the bridge at this place broken, he defeated the few Federal troops 
stationed there, and became master of the passage. A terrible 
storm bursting out at this moment made the waters rise, and in- 
terrupted military operations. The two armies exchanged gun- 
shots ; but Longstreet soon joined Jackson at Jefferstonton, and 
the 24th passed quietly. Just then General Stuart brought Lee 
important news which hastened his resolution to act promptly. 

Stuart had been directed by his chief to reconnoitre in force to 
the rear of the enemy. Starting on the 22nd from Freeman's Ford 
on the Rappahannock with 1500 cavalry and two pieces of 
artillery, he arrived in the evening at Warrenton. Thence, learn- 
ing that the roads were open, he proceeded to Catlett's Station, on 
the railway, to destroy the bridge, but the storm broke over the 
little column. Still advancing, at night he reached the little 
village of Auburn. The Federal sentries were surprised and taken. 
Presently Stuart perceived he was in the midst of the hostile camp. 
The night was black, and rain fell in torrents \ it was nearly 
impossible to see anything. Happily, at that moment, a trooper 


seized a negro and brought him to Stuart. This negro had known 
the general before the war, and informed him. he was close to the 
head-quarters, offering to lead him there. Stuart accepted. Some 
minutes later, Fitzhugh Lee's regiment rushed into -the midst of 
the tents of Pope's staff. The surprise was complete. The 
Federal chief escaped with difficulty. A large number 6f prisoners 
was taken, nearly all officers, without reckoning their personal 
effects and General Pope's horses ; but the most precious prize 
was the Federal general's despatch-book, containing, copies of all 
his official correspondence with his government 

The Federals, recovered from their surprise, began to reassemble 
in force. Prudence counselled to Stuart a quick retreat. After a 
useless attempt to destroy the railway bridge, too much sodden by 
the rain to take fire, Stuart, knowing that the storm would raise the 
level of the waters between him and the Confederate army, which 
might perhaps cut off his retreat, resumed his march, taking the 
way he had come. His return was effected in safety, and on the 
23rd he recrossed the Rappahannock. His loss was trifling. He 
brought back 300 prisoners, of whom the greater part were officers, 
some belonging to Pope's staff. 

The precious despatch-book was immediately delivered to the 
general-in-chief. In it Pope informed his government that he 
was afraid he should be unable to retain the line of the Rappahan- 
nock, and begged for new troops. This book made Lee aware of 
the number and position of the different corps of the enemy, as 
well as of the projects of his adversary. He likewise learnt that 
MacClellan had left Westover, that a part of his army was on the 
road to join Pope, that the remainder were getting ready to follow, 
and that General Cox's army was recalled from the valley of the 
Kanawha (Western Virginia), in order to swell Pope's forces.^ If, 
therefore, these different corps joined the Federal chief, he would 
be at the head of nearly 200,000 men. The Confederates had 
only 70,000. Prompt action was therefore necessary. 

Certain now that MacClellan was retiring from before Richmond, 



Lee immediately summoned to the Rappahannock all the forces 
he had left behind oa the James. The Confederate general had 
conceived a bold plan, one which seemed to promise the defeat 
of the enem^. Jackson was to cross the Rappahannock beyond 
Pope's right wing, pass to the rear of that wing, and, by gaining 
it, cut off its communications with Washington. Longstreet mean- 
while would menace Pope, to divert his attention from Jackson's 
movement, then follow the latter when he was sufficiently in 
advance. Lee, by placing all his army between Pope and the 
City of Washington, hoped to make him accept battle before his 
reinforcements arrived. 

Thus to divide his army in the presence of the enemy, leaving 
one half on the Rappahannock opposite the Federals, and 
sending the other by a round-about way to fall on their rear at 
Manassas, was to violate the first and most important of the rules 
of the military art, which forbids the dividing of one's forces in the 
face of the foe. That Lee dared it shows he held in light esteem 
the skill of his enemy. These flank attacks undoubtedly had a 
great attraction for him as well as for Jackson. His preference 
for this manceuvre is explained by the character of the soldiers on 
both sides, and by the configuration of the country. In both 
armies, the men were often inexperienced recraits, easily striclfen 
with panic by any sudden surprise ; it was enough, therefore, for 
an enemy to appear on their flank or rear to throw their ranks 
into disorder. The woody nature of the country where they 
fought rendered these movements easy to execute. It was neces- 
sary that the general who undertook such a responsibility should 
not fail m boldness. This quality Lee had shown several times, 
and as he always succeeded, there can be no denying that, from a 
military point of view, he was justified. 

To conduct the perilous operation under consideration Lee had 

chosen the intrepid Jackson, It was imperative to act with 

rapidity. On August 25th, the already celebrated division-general 

t out from Warrenton Springs. Skirting the southern bank of 



the Rappahannock, he crossed at Hinson's Ford, and pursued his 
way, dragging his guns with great difficulty along the narrow and 
stony road. Coming to the foot of the Blue Ridge, across fields, 
and along roads little frequented, he marched direct for Thorough- 
fare Gap, where the railway of Manassas Gap passes across the 
mountains of BulFs Run. It was necessary to reach this defile 
before the enemy was aware of his movements, lest they should 
get in front of him. The heat was oppressive, but nobody dreamt 
of stopping. At midnight the indefatigable soldiers, after a forced 
march of 35 miles, arrived at Salem, where they passed the night 
Jackson had communicated his indomitable energy to his men ; 
there were no stragglers, and although half famished, and with 
bruised feet, they wished to go on. All along the route the 
inhabitants welcomed them with joy and astonishment. It was 
months since they had seen the grey jackets in their neighbour- 
hood, and all wished to know whence they came and whither they 
were going. But to all their questions the soldiers had received 
orders to answer nothing. Stuart's cavalry marched on Jackson's 
right flank and parallel to it, in order to conceal the movement of 
the latter, and hinder the enemy from learning the object of this 
forced march. On the 26th of August, Jackson reached Thorough- 
fare Gap, which, to his exceeding joy, he found unoccupied. At 
simset he arrived at Bristoe, a station on the railway from Orange 
to Alexandria. A train was presently heard coming at full speed 
from Warrenton Junction. In spite of all his endeavours Ewell 
had not time to throw it off* the line. His troopers, however, 
fired into it a volley while passing. More fortunate a second and 
a third time, the Confederates seized two trains. But the Federals 
soon learnt what had happened, and the train service on that Une 

The first part of Lee's plan had succeeded. Jackson was in 
Pope's rear on the railway by which the Federals received all 
their supplies. At Bristoe the former learnt that the enemy had 
established the principal depot of all his supplies, provisions, and 


ammuaition at Manassas Junction, seven miles from Bristoe. In 
spite of the thirty miles they had just traversed, and the darkness 
of ihe night, Brigadier-general Trimble continued his march on 
Manassas, followed by Stuart and the cavalry. After a short sharp 
struggle the Confederates mastered Manassas. They found there 
an enormous quantity of provisions of all kinds,— meat, flour, pro- 
vender. This was a real feast for Jackson's half-starved soldiers 
wben they arrived on the morrow. They had permission to make 
a good meal at the enemy's expense, and as nothing could be 
carried away, for want of the means of tran.'iport, all the rest was 
destroyed. The spectacle of a soldier with naked feet, covered 
with rags, eating lobster salad and drinking Rhine wine appeared 
somewbat comical. On the 37th, in the morning, Jackson arrived 
at Manassas with the rest of his troops. Ewell's division alone 
had been left at Bristoe Station to disturb the Federal retreat, in 
case they should retire from the Rappahannock. If he found 
himself too hotly pressed, he was to rejoin Jackson at Manassas, 
Shortly after General Jackson's arrival, a Federal brigade attempted 
to recapture the lost positions, but it was routed, and Taylor, its 
general, slain. 

Pope, although warned by his sentinels, did not at first under- 
stand Jackson's movements, but thought the Confederates were 
retiring towards the mountains. But the capture of Manassas 
opened his eyes. His army was very numerous. The divisions 
of Reynolds, Porter, and Heintzelman, of the army of the 
Potomac (MacClellan's), had joined him, and the corps of 
Sumner and Franklin, belonging to the same army, were on their 
march to range themselves under his command. Without count- 
ing these latter he had with him 120,000 fighting men, and could 
hurl them in a mass against Jackson's single corps. The oppor- 
tunity was not wanting. Jackson and Longstreet were apart 
Pope ought to have seized the road which led from Thoroughfare 
Gap to the position Jackson occupied. Then Longstreet, in 
order to effect a junction with the latter, would have been obliged 


to accept battle, and while this part of the army was held in 
check, Jackson might have been crushed. Consequently Mac- 
Dowell's corps bore rapidly down on Gainesville, followed by the 
corps of Sigel, and the division of Reynolds. If this masterstroke 
succeeded, Pope would have placed 40,000 of his best soldiers 
between Longstreet and Manassas. Reno and Heintzelman's 
two corps and Keame/s division took the road to Greenwich, 
in order to be within reach of MacDowell, while the Federal chief 
with Hooker's divison marched straight on Manassas, following 
the railway. To Banks's corps was entrusted the task of covering 
Warrenton Junction and repairing the permanent way. General 
Porter was to go with all haste to Gainesville from Warrenton 
Junction as soon as Banks had replaced him. The Federal plan 
was excellent 

MacDowell occupied Gainseville on the night of the 27th. Reno 
and Kearney at the same time reached Greenwich. Hooker Hke- 
wise got near Ewell at Bristoe Station. Pressed too close, the 
Confederate general, according to Jackson's direction, retired in 
good order, and crossed the Broad Run, burning the railway 
bridge. The same night he rejoined his chief at Manassas. His 
determined resistance led Pope to believe that the conflict would 
begin again next day. Consequently the march of Porter's corps 
on Gainesville was countermanded, and he was ordered to join 
Hooker at Bristoe Station the same night 

Jackson's position was critical. The bulk of the hostile army, 
numbering 70,000 men, was at Greenwich and Gainesville, between 
him and Longstreet, and Pope was marching on him with the 
remainder. Every moment his scouts brought him news more 
and more alarming. There was no time to lose. To retire from 
Manassas became absolutely necessary. 

Jackson had the choice between two operations : — to make a 
rapid detour by Aldie round Bull's Run mountain and rejoin 
Longstreet, which he could at present easily do. But this would 
be to give up Lee's plan, the essence of which was to force Pope to 


accept battle on a ground chosen by the Confederate chief, while the 
Federals were cut off from their base of supplies, and not yet joined 
by their reinforcements. The other plan offered great dangers, but 
promised the general, who in the end adopted it, success to his plans. 
This was to retire towards Bull's Run, and there occupy a position 
nearer Thoroughfare Gap. It was plain that he could only rnain- 
taiii himself there by great efforts, but he was no great distance 
from Longstreet, menacing Pope's communications, and having 
continually as a last resource the power of retreating by Aldie. 
That evening the immense quantities of victuals and war-material 
accumulated by the Federals at Manassas were delivered to the 
flames, and by the light of the fire the Confederates marched 
towards Bull's Run. It was a cruel sacrifice for these poor half- 
famished fellows to carry away none of the good things, but had 
they done so their movements would have been much impeded. 
They, therefore, fired the provisions of which they had such 
pressing need, and gaily started in the night to encounter new 
dangers and endure new privations. 

The destruction of everything magazined at Manassas was a 
terrible blow to Genera! Pope. " My men," wrote he in his 
report, " exhausted by the marches and combats of the preceding 
days, and very short of provisions, slept under arms. Then for 
two days our horses were without provender, 1 telegraphed a 
pressing demand that rations should be sent me ; but on Saturday 
morning, August 30th, before the battle began, I received a letter 
from General Franklin, dated the previous evening from Alexandria, 
informing me that General MacClellan wished me to know that 
rations for men and beasts were waiting for me, loaded in railway 
trucks and carriages, till I was able to send an escort of cavalry to 
fetch them from Alexandria. All hope of maintaining myself in 
the position I occupied, whatever might be the result of the battle, 
disappeared on the reading of this epistle. My cavalry was quite 
spent, in consequence of the rough work it had done for some 
time, and, sad as was the state to which it had been reduced, I yet 


could not do without it in the presence of the enemy. I compre 
hended, therefore, that that da/s action would be decisive, for at 
night it would be necessary to place Bull's Run between the enemy 
and ourselves, if we did not wish to perish of hunger, both men 
and beasts." 

The excuse here offered by Pope, by which he tried to explain 
his defeat, is of no value. Although the Confederates had to 
suffer many more privations than their foes, they did not the less 
gain the victory. Besides, General Franklin's letter reached Pope 
on August 30th, the day of a decisive action, when it was already 
impossible for convoys of provisions to get to his army. Fitz Lee's 
cavalry was disposed in such a manner as to intercept all the 

To deceive the enemy, A. P. Hill's Confederate division, with a 
part of the cavalry, took the road from Centreville, but after having 
passed Bull's Run, defiled to the left and rejoined Jackson, who 
was found in position. on the old field of battle of July 21st, 1861, 
his right a little above the village of Groveton, and his left sup- 
ported on Sudley Ford. General Jackson had thus neutralized 
the measures, excellent though they were, that Pope had taken, 
and had likewise obtained a communication with General Lee, in 
spite of the Federal troops at Gainesville. He occupied besides 
a strong position, and had secured a safe line of retreat in case of 
misfortune ; thus matters passed till the evening of August 28th. 
With the mountain at his back, Jackson awaited Lee. 

Pope believing Jackson would endeavour to hold Manassas, 
conducted MacDowell and Reno's columns during the night of 
the 27 th from Gainesville and Greenwich towards Manassas, making 
sure of there crushing Jackson. On the morning of the 28th, he 
advanced with Kearney, Hooker, and Reno's divisions, but finding 
that Ewell had profited by the night hours to disappear, the 
Federal General hastily marched on Manassas, where he arrived 
at midday. To his great amazement, Jackson was nowhere to be 
seen Pope then perceived what a blunder he had committed in 


ordering MacDowell from Gainesville, leaving the road open for 
Lee to join Jackson. 

Without losing an instant, a despatch was sent to MacDowell, 
countermanding his movement on Manassas, and directing him to 
proceed by the road from Warrenton to Centreville. Pope him- 
self marched rapidly on the latter place in pursuit of R. P. Hill's 
division, which he believed to be Jackson's entire corps. But he 
had lost too much time ; he was completely mystified, and no 
longer knew where to find Jackson. 

On the evening of the 28th, MacDowell arrived close to 
Groveton. Not knowing he was so near the enemv, he im- 
prudently presented his flank to him; perceiving which, Jackson 
fell on him and inflicted a heavy loss. Reinforcements arriving, 
the Federals maintained their position till night, and then retired 
to Manassas Junction. In this combat, the Confederate Generals 
Tagliaferro and Ewell were severely wounded. 

During this time, Lee, commanding Longstreet's corps in person, 
had not lost a moment in his efforts to rejoin Jackson. On the 
26th, he passed the Rappahannock. The night following, on the 
27th, he reached White Plains, his march having been delayed by 
demonstrations on the part of the hostile cavalry in the direction 
of Warrenton, who appeared to threaten his right. Having no 
cavalry he could not nullify these movements, and was obliged 
to advance cautiously. On the evening of the 28th, he reached 
Thoroughfare Gap. At that moment the engagement between 
Jackson and MacDowell was taking place, and the noise of the 
cannon on the Groveton side, indicating that Jackson was at blows 
with his adversary, reached Lee's ears. Surely it is not surprising 
that he then became full of anxiety, for the disproportion of forces 
between Jackson and Pope was enormous. To increase his em- 
barrassment the pass was defended by he knew not how many 
Federals, and even he experienced some emotion lest Jackson 
should be crushed before he could lend him succour. He 
climbed the summit of a hill at a gallop, and alighting, attentively 

K 2 


examined with his telescope the sombre and woody defile which 
barred his passage. But on his countenance nothing appeared ; 
not a movement betrayed his emotion. Calm and collected, he 
shut up his telescope, remained a moment immovable, wrapt in 
thought, then, stepping to his horse, he remounted, and descended 
the hill. 

This Thoroughfare Gap defile is a very strong position, and 
was occupied by a Federal division. The only road through the 
gorge and the sides of the mountain was swept by the hostile 
artillery. Generals Hood and Wilcox, with five brigades, received 
orders to turn the position. Before they could reach the right of 
the Federals, the latter had retired towards Manassas, and Long- 
street bivouacked for the night to the east of the mountain. Next 
morning, August 29th, Longstreet's troops took position under 
Lee's eye on Jackson's right ; at midday the army was ranged in 
order of battle. 

Jackson was preparing to receive a new attack. His soldiers 
were tired out with this long course of exhausting marches and in- 
cessant fights ; hunger also was cruelly pinching them, but morally 
the little army was nowise affected. They knew their commander 
had just received tidings of General Lee, announcing that the 
latter had passed the Thoroughfare Gap. All danger, therefore, 
was over. Jackson's skill and the men's heroism had crowned 
Lee's brilliant conceptions with success. The enemy was obliged 
to deliver battle, and that, too, not against a feeble portion of the 
Confederate army, but against the total mass of the Confederate 

On the morning of the 29th, General Sigel received from General 
Pope an order to attack the enemy's line ; consequently, at ten 
o'clock, his guns opened fire. At that moment, Longstreet's troops 
arrived on the battle-field. Jackson's batteries smartly answered 
the Federal fire. At noon. Pope came to support Sigel with Reno 
and Heintzelmarfs corps. Heintzelman's corps, consisting of 
Hooker and Kearney's divisions, formed the Federal right ; Reno 


and Sigel were in the centre ; E.egnold's division held the left. ' At 
three o'clock, Pope ordered Hooker to bear down on Jackson's 
left, and crowd it back on the centre. The subordinate, better 
appreciating the difficulty than his superior, sought to make it 
understood at head-quarters ; in vain ; lie must obey. The result 
of his attack, vigorous though it was, after piercmg Hill's first hne, 
was to see himself huried back and crushed by the enemy's 
batteries. The opposing forces frequeutly exchanged shots at only 
ten paces distance. Kearney fleiv to Hooker's aid, but only to 
experieoce the same fate. At every new assault, Hill's troops 
thrust back the Federals, inflicting on them disastrous losses. 

In the morning Porter had sought to become master of Gaines- 
ville, but had been met by Longstreel's forces. Later in the day. 
Pope having learnt his whereabouts, ordered hira to turn the right 
wing and take the Confederates in the rear, still thinking he had 
to do with Jackson's troops only. Obliged to attack Loagstreet's 
forces in front. Porter was vigorously repulsed. At six o'clock, 
the moment when he thought Porter was assaulting the Confederate 
right, Pope threw himself furiously on their left. Hill's men had 
no more ammunition. Thus the first Federal attack was crowned 
with success, and Hill's left thrown back towards its centre, 
the enemy pursuing with cries of triumph. Hill's Confederates 
resisted frantically, hurling pieces of rock at their foes. At this 
critical juncture Early's brigade ran to their succour, and the 
enemy, in his turn, was promptly driven back beyond the railway. 
Longstreet, on his side, ordered Hood to advance and make a 
diversion in Jackson's favour. At the moment when he was 
preparing to obey, he was attacked by Porter ; but the latter couid 
not maintain his ground, and was obliged to retire, holly pursued. 

Thus on all sides the Federals beat a retreat. At nine o'clock 
they halted in some strong positions, and the Confederates ceased 
pursuing. In this battle the Federals confessed having lost 8000 

^^H T] 

The Northern Virginian army encamped for the night on the 


ground it had occupied during the day. If General Pope had 
hstened to. the simplest laws of prudence, he would have retired 
into the Washington lines. His losses already amounted to 
17,000 men; morally his soldiers had suffered much, owing to 
tlieir reverses and extraordinary fatigues, to which were now added 
the pangs of hunger. Nevertheless he resolved to risk another 

On the morning of the 30th of August, a splendid sun illumi- 
nated the two armies. With. its first rays they were ready to 
recommence. General Lee occupied the position of the evening 
before. His left was at Sudley Ford, on Bull's Run, his centre at 
Groveton, his right on the Manassas Gap Railway. In the 
centre, on a height, 32 pieces of ordnance commanded the battle- 
field. Longstreet's corps was disposed obliquely with reference 
to Jackson's, so that the Confederate line took the form of the 
letter V, the two wings in front. The artillery was placed so as 
•to resist the attacks of the enemy and support the Confederate 
advance. The cavalry protected both flanks. The Federal line 
was obliged to conform to the arrangement which Lee had taken, 
and had the shape of a V reversed, the centre being at the angle 
in front, and the wings in the rear. In the morning there were 
several skirmishes between the outposts. MacDowell was ordered 
to march 'with three corps along the Warren ton Road. At four 
o'clock the head of his columns came out of the woods facing 
Jackson's lines. Presently the central Confederate batteries 
opened fire, and shortly after, all the Southern guns did likewise. 
The Federal troops could not stand, and disorder arose in their 
ranks. Still Pope sent them reinforcements after reinforcements ; 
the fight continued, and the battle thundered all along Jackson's 
lines. At five o'clock, the brunt of the strife being still borne by 
Jackson, Longstreet was obliged to come to his aid. The 
Federal line, by means of extending, came within reach of Long- 
street's batteries, who rained down upon it a shower of cannon- 
balls. Exhausted by their repeated efforts to carry Lee's 



^- HU 

positions, and decimated by grape-shot froni all the batteries, the 
Federals gave way and retired in disorder. Seeing which, all the 
Confederate army advanced briskly, pressing the enemy at all 
points, and menacing the Federal retreat on Bull's Run. At 
nightfall Pope's posidon became still more critical, by the taking 
of a series of heights occupied by Reynolds and Rickett's divisions, 
which an impetuous charge by Longstreet had torn from them. 
On one point the Federals still held out, namely, on an elevated 
plain, sufficiently high to command Bull's Run Ford, over which 
the retreat must be. If the Confederates could have gained it, it 
would have been all over with the Federals, But all the Northern 
army clung to this plateau, feeling that here was their plank of 
safety, and the Confederate eflorts were in vain. Thanks to this 
resistance the remains of the Northern army were able to defile 
across Bull's Run towards Washington, and at ten o'clock. Pope, 
with the assistance of the darkness, put the watercourse between 
him and his adversary. The night was very black, the fords very 
imcertain, and Lee judged it best to await the morning. 

The 31st of August saw Pope in position on the heights of 
Centreville. There Franklin and Sumner's corps had rejoined 
him. Lee had no wish to let him escape without again taking 
his measurement. Longstreet was charged to hold the enemy 
in check, remaining on the previous day's batde-field, and Jack- 
son to repeat the old manceuvre, and, by turning Pope's right, to 
throw himself on his line of retreat. Jackson crossed Bull's Run 
at Sudley Ford, and marched all day in a deluge of rain to 
Chantilly, where he encamped for the night Next morning he 
continued his march to Fairfax Court House, As soon as he 
learnt this movement of Jackson, Pope retired, and the 1st of 
September found him posted, his left at Fairfex Coiut House, and 
his right at Oxhil!, near Germantown. 

At five o'clock, p.m., Jackson arrived at Oxhill. The rain still 
torrents. He immediately formed columns of attack. 
Hill and his division were on the right, the old division of Ewell 


held the centre, and Jackson the left Although the rain was 
fiill in the faces of the Confederate soldiers, they charged with 
their usual vigour. Received by a well-kept fire, Branch's 
brigade faltered a moment, but the rest of Hill's division supported 
him. Stevens's Federal division was repulsed, and its general 
killed. General Kearney, seeking to rally the Federal line, was 
likewise slain. Shortly after the enemy beat a retreat, and on the 
day following, the entire Northern army retired within the 
Washington lines. The campaign was over. On the 2nd of 
September, in the morning, Longstreet rejoined Jackson. For the 
first time since the taking of Manassas on the 27 th of August, the 
soldiers received their rations. They had lived for several days 
on green maize and unripe apples, enduring their privations not 
only with patience, but with gaiety. Since the 25th of August, 
the day on which they left the Rappahannock, there had been 
nothing but marches, counter-marches, and incessant conflicts. 
They were utterly spent ; many were shoeless, and their feet were 
so bruised by the rugged roads, that they could no longer drag 
themselves along. Few armies have had to endure more 
than that of Northern Virginia, during this short but brilliant 

General Pope had been compelled to abandon his wounded on 
the night of the 30th. Next morning he begged a truce of Lee to 
enable him to carry off his wounded and bury his dead. Lee 
refused him the truce, but allowed him to fetch his wounded. The 
number was so great that, on the 3rd of September, there still 
remained nearly 3000 on the battle field. 

The Confederates lost in this campaign, from the 25 th of August 
to the 2nd of September, 1862, from the Rappahannock to the 
Potamac, 91 12 men in all, including Generals Ewell, Taghaferro, 
Field, and Trimble, dangerously wounded. The Federal losses 
were enormous, amounting to upwards of 30,000 men, there being 8 
generals slain, and 7000 prisoners and 2000 wounded in the hands 
of the Confederates. 30 pieces of cannon, more than 20,000 


rifleS) &&, &c., many ensigns, and an immense quantity of war 
material and provisions remained at General Lee*s disposal, with- 
out reckoning what Jackson had destroyed at Manassas Junction. 
This was a brilliant end to a glorious campaign, worthy in every 
way of the illustrious soldier who had conducted it. 

Lee had escaped all the dangers of the campaign, but on the 4th 
of September, as he was standing near his horse, it fell sideways, 
struck with sudden fright, throwing Lee down, and falling violently 
on him. One of the bones of his left hand was broken. The 
accident was not only painful, but hindered him for some time 
from mounting a horse again. 



harper's ferry. — BATTLE OF SHARPSBURG. 

MacClellan's defeat had saddened the Northern population, 
without at all making them relax their efforts, or discouraging 
them. Had they not on the Rappahannock another army more 
numerous, better organized, under commanders who inspired 
confidence and hope ? But when this second army also had come, 
mutilated and in disarray, to seek refuge under the walls of 
Washington, the new disaster fell on the North with crushing 
force. All its efforts for fifteen months had gone for nothing ; all 
had to be done over again. The future appeared gloomy, and the 
people expected to hear that the Federal capital was fallen into 
the hands of General Lee. 

Nor was this the only advantage reaped by the Confederates 
after this victorious campaign; it opened for them the fertile 
Valley of Virginia, in which, hitherto, their enemy had lived on ' 
the fat of the land. The Federals had evacuated it, and hence- 
forth the rich harvests and all the resources of the grand valley, and 
of all the districts round about, would pass to the Southern army, 
which had so much need of them. Further, MacClellan*s army 
having quitted the James River, all Lower Virginia was delivered 
from the enemy, and the Northern troops being recalled in great 
haste, in consequence of Lee*s successes, were already leaving the 
different points on the coast. 

Everything, therefore, counselled the South to profit by the 


demoralization of the North and the disorganization of its armies, 
and strike further heavy blows before there was time for recovery 
from past disasters. The Confederate army was too ill provided 
with clothing, shoes, ammunition, and other necessary war-material 
to hope to be able, even in so favourable a moment, to conquer 
peace on Northern soil ; but there was every reason to believe 
that it would succeed in enfeebling the Federals sufficiently to 
force them to remain north of the Potomac, and defend their 
own territory. Thus, perhaps, a new invasion would be spared 
to Virginia, till winter came, which would render all offensive 
evolutions on the part of the North difficult. 

Pope's defeat rendered possible some movements which pro- 
bably Lee had not foreseen. In advancing from Richmond on 
Culpepper, his design was simply to arrest his adversary's march on 
Gordonsville ; now everything was changed, and it became im- 
portant to draw the utmost profit possible from the new position 
of affairs. 

The political situation of Maryland very naturally suggested the 
idea of penetrating into that state. A large part of its population 
were at one with the South, not only through its interests, 
traditions, and the ties of vicinity, but also through profound 
sympathy. It had been hindered from taking part and cause with 
the South only by strong pressure on the part of the Federal 
Government. All appearances were a sure indication that the 
people of Maryland simply awaited the arrival of the Confederate 
army to rise against the United States Government. In any case 
its rising must create a powerful diversion, and indirectly aid the 
South by obliging the Washington authorities to send numerous 
troops against the people who had revolted. There is no doubt 
that, in all this. General Lee reasoned soundly, that his hopes 
were justified by the general situation of affairs, and his con- 
clusions based on weighty data. He was not, however, a prey 
to illusion. He was well aware how difficult it would be for the 
Maryland people, whom the anxiety of the Federal Government 


had disarmed, and whose state was occupied by a multitude of 
Northern troops, to hold their own against superior forces. He 
understood perfectly that as long as the Confederates could not 
effectually protect them, all rising on their part was little likely 
and little to be desired, since the effort could only succeed with 
the help of the South, and its non-success would expose the 
unfortunate Marylanders to the vengeance of an exasperated 
government. At the commencement, therefore, he reckoned 
much more on the well-grounded fears of the Washington Govern- 
ment than on the active co-operation of the Marylanders. 

The army itself was by no means prepared to invade a hostile 
country. Exhausted by the extraordinary efforts of the campaign it 
had just finished, it numbered a large proportion of soldiers 
without shoes, who had literally traced out the way to the Potomac 
with blood. Their uniforms were in tatters. The service of 
victuals was made irregularly. Their means of transport were in 
no way proportioned to the army's wants, and their stock of 
ammunition was altogether insufficient for an aggressive movement 
of this magnitude. 

Nevertheless, as so many advantages seemed to be promised 
by a sudden and vigorous offensive movement, General Lee 
concluded that the considerations just enumerated ought not to stop 
him. He resolved, therefore, to cross the Potomac and enter 
Maryland. In order to compel the Unionists also to cross this 
river, he decided on fording it to the east of the Blue Ridge, so as 
to menace at once both Washington and Baltimore. The enemy 
being ousted from Virginia, Lee reckoned on taking up a position 
in Western Maryland, and, by estabhshing communications with 
Richmond, by the Valley of the Shenandoah, and threatening 
Pennsylvania, to draw the Federals after him, which would 
increase their distance from their base of operations. He 
followed the same plan in 1863, in the campaign which ended at 

'^n the 4th of September, D. H. HilFs division, which formed 


the Confederate van-guard, crossed the Potomac opposite the 
spot where the Monocacy empties it waters into the Potomac. 
To oppose it there were only some Federal sentries, who took 
flight The night and the days following were employed in 
destroying the sluices and dykes of the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal, by means of which Washington chiefly derived its supplies 
of wood and coal. On the 7 th of September, all the Confederate 
army encamped on Northern territory. The crossing of the river 
had been accompanied by repeated hurrahs, to the sound of 
warlike strains, and with an enthusiasm unlimited. The soldiers 
considered themselves as the avengers of a people outraged in its 
earest rights, and felt proud and joyful at the prospect of carrying 
war into the enemy's country. They encamped between the 
Monocacy and Frederick City ; very strict orders had been issued 
to treat the Marylanders as friends. Pillage and theft were 
severely punished. What was needed was to be paid for, in 
Confederate paper, it is true, but the sellers did not refuse to 
accept it. In proof that these orders were obeyed, it is an 
extraordinary fact, that during the whole sojourn of the Southern 
army there, not a single case of bad conduct occurred. 

This regard for their enemies created astonishment in the North, 
where it had been expected to see the tattered rebels imitate, and 
even surpass, the scenes of pillage and disorder which covered 
Pope's army with infamy. When one thinks that the Confederate 
soldiers had just seen the laughing fields of Virginia devastated, 
their friends and relatives pillaged, insulted, and often driven 
from their homes, by the Union troops, and that now they 
themselves were in the enemy's country, still smarting under the 
remembrance of those outrages, and surrounded by so many things 
they needed, and were able, if they chose, to appropriate, then 
their chivahous conduct can be duly estimated. What a proud 
time for Lee was that when he learnt his orders were so strictly 
obeyed ! No doubt the affection of his soldiers for him had as 
much to do with it as the sentiment of right and justice. There 


was no wish to tarnish either their own or their general's good 

The Marylanders' welcome of the Southern troops was not 
such as had been imagined. In Western Maryland, which Lee 
entered, the majority of the people remained attached to the 
Union, and very few recruits rallied to the Southern standards. 
The Confederate General-in-chief, on touching the soil of Mary- 
land, addressed the following proclamation to its inhabitants : — 

** Head- Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 

** Near Frederickstown, Sept. 8th, 1862. 


To the people of Maryland. 

" It is right that you should know the purpose that has 
brought the army under my command within the limits of your 
state, so far as that purpose concerns yourselves. 

" The people of the Confederate States have long watched, with 
the deepest sympathy, the wrongs and outrages that have been 
inflicted upon the citizens of a Commonwealth allied to the States 
of the South by the strongest social, political, and commercial 

" They have seen with profound indignation their sister state 
deprived of every right, and reduced to the condition of a 
conquered province. Under the pretence of supporting the 
Constitution, but in violation of its most valuable provisions, 
your citizens have been arrested and imprisoned upon no charge, 

and contrary to all forms of law The government of your 

chief city has been usurped by armed strangers ; your legislature 
has been dissolved by the unlawful arrest of its members ; freedom 
of speech and of the press has been suppressed ; words have been 
declared offences by arbitrary decree of the Federal Executive, 
and citizens ordered to be tried by military commissions for what 
they may dare to speak. 

"Believing that the people of Maryland possess a spirit too 
lofty to submit to such a government, the people of the South 


have long wished to aid you in throwing off this foreign yoke, to 
enable you again to enjoy the inalienable rights of freemen, and 
restore the independence and sovereignty of your state. In 
obedience to this wish, our army has come among you, and is 
prepared to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the 
rights of which you have been so unjustly despoiled. This, 
citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. 
No restraint on your freewill is intended ; no intimidation will be 

allowed, within the limits of this army at least We know 

no enemies among you, and will protect all of you in every 
opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny, freely and without 
constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may 
be ; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to 
your natural position among them, they will welcome you when 
you come in of your own free will. 

" R. E. Lee, General-Commanding." 

This proclamation was read with interest by the Marylanders, 
but it brought no recruits. Unhappily for the South, General 
Lee had had to penetrate into a part of Maryland having little 
love for the Confederate cause. In the east and south-east of the 
state it would have been different; the Southerners there had 
many partisans ; but between these and Frederick stown a 
Federal army was master of all the roads by which they could 
have come to General Lee. Further, the Confederate invasion 
was a tentative one, which must become a success before the 
Marylanders would trust themselves to it. If Lee could reach 
Baltimore or Prince George County, undoubtedly many recruits 
would join him. The Confederate soldiers ignored all these 
details, and felt a lively disappointment at finding so few friends 
and so many enemies. 

When he adopted this plan of campaign, Lee had reckoned on 
leading all his army with him. But, unfortunately, nothing of the 
kind happened. All along the road from Manassas to the 


Potomac, thousands of stragglers left the ranks, the greater part 
not having strength to proceed. The want of rest and food, 
continual marches and daily battles, added to all preceding 
fatigues under the walls of Richmond, had completely exhausted 
them. Many of these stragglers had no shoes, and their feet 
were bruised to such a degree by the stones that they could not 
stand upright. Many of them remained lame for months, others 
never recovered the efforts they made to follow the army. But 
a great number, it must unfortunately be granted, )rielded to 
meaner motives in quitting the ranks. Want of severe discipline 
was keenly felt in the Confederate army. 

Lee was much grieved on learning the extent of this evil, and 
perceived the danger to which his troops would be exposed if 
their number became sensibly diminished. But there was no 
time to indulge in this grief; the Potomac had been crossed, and 
it would have been a moral defeat to return without attempting 

Harper's Ferry is a village situated at the confluence of the 
Shenandoah and Potomac, on the Virginian bank of the latter 
river, and commanding the entry into the Valley of Virginia. It 
was occupied by a strong Federal garrison of 11,500 men under 
Colonel Miles, to hinder any hostile force emerging from the 
valley into Maryland. But as Lee had crossed the Potomac 
much lower down, placing himself between Harper's Ferry and 
the rest of the Federal troops, all strategical rules required the 
post to be abandoned as useless, and as putting the garrison in 
danger of being surrounded and made prisoners. This at least 
General Lee expected. But General Halleck, who was at the 
head of the Federal staff, obstinately refused to retire the garrison 
from Harper's Ferry, and, strange to say, that which was, from a 
military point of view, a blunder on the Federal side, became the 
first cause of the want of success to the Confederate invasion. 
For before penetratmg into the enemy's country, Lee had to 
await the taking of this place, and thus MacClellan had time to 


interpose between him and the United States capital, and then 
to strike a blow under circumstances very unfavourable to the 
Confederate army. 

The Southern commander, seeing that Colonel Miles gave no 
sign of withdrawing, was necessarily obliged to compel him to 
move, in order to preserve his own relations with the valley, 
whence he reckoned in part to draw his supplies. This unfore- 
seen obstacle disarranged his original plan, which was to push 
forwards without losing a moment To take Harper's Ferry, he 
was forced to detach a considerable body of troops, and by so 
much enfeeble his army, already diminished by the many stragglers 
spoken of previously. 

On December loth, Jackson's corps recrossed the Potomac 
near Williamsport ; the Federals likewise evacuated Martinsburg, 
and became concentrated at Harper's Ferry. On the 12th 
Jackson took possession of Martinsburg, and on the 13th, at 
II o'clock, he arrived in view of the enemy's position around 
Harper's Ferry. Meanwhile, General Walker had recrossed the 
Potomac at the Point of Rocks, and at night, on the 13th, he 
occupied the heights of Loudon at the point where the Shenandoah 
falls into the Potomac. These heights command Harper's Ferry 
on the edge opposite the Shenandoah. On the morning of the 
14th the town was bombarded. 

General MacLaws was directed to take possession of the 
Maryland Heights, situated opposite Harper's Ferry, on the north 
bank of the Potomac. By these the town was completely com- 
manded, and they were fortified and occupied in force by the 
enemy. On the 12th, MacLaws, after becoming master of all the 
passes of South Mountain,* by which reinforcements would have 
been able to reach Harper's Ferry, arrived at the Maryland 
Heights. Next day, after a desperate struggle among some 
brushwood, forests, and ravines, he succeeded at four o'clock, p.m., 

♦ A name given to the prolongation of the Blue Ridge chain, on the other 
side of the Potomac, into Maryland. 


in planting his flag on the summit of the heights in question* 
Then his troops drew up so as to cut off the retreat of the 
garrison, should it attempt to descend the Potomac. The 
Federals had raised a series of formidable works, extending from 
this river to the Shenandoah. From the heights taken, by Mac- 
Laws and Walker, the Confederate cannon scarce reached these 
advanced works. Jackson was to turn the enemy from this line 
into the town of Harper's Ferry. Hill, defiling along the left 
bank of the Shenandoah, was to attack the Federal left wing on 
the rear, and bear down on the town. EwelFs division was 
directed to support him. Meanwhile Jackson would make a 
demonstration against the Federal right, while the Southern 
cavalry watched the borders of the Potomac. On the evening of 
the 14th, Hill succeeded in taking a hostile position near the 
Potomac, on the extreme left of their line. EwelFs division, 
under General Lawton*s command, had neared the Federal works ; 
some guns also had been sent across from the other side of the 
Shenandoah, to rake the enemy's line. At daybreak, on Sep- 
tember 15 th, a terrible cannonade burst forth from all the heights, 
most of the pieces being about a thousand yards from the 
Federals. In an hour the Federal artillery ceased to answer, and 
soon after, at the moment when the assault was going to begin, 
the appearance of a white flag announced the surrender of the 
place. The number of prisoners was upwards of 11,000, besides 
73 cannon, 13,000 rifles and other arms, 200 waggons, and stores 
of ammunition : Jackson's loss was insignificant. Hardly had he 
succeeded, when he received a pressing order from' Lee to rejoin 
him in all haste. Leaving General Hill to complete the surrender, 
and enjoining Generals MacLaws and Walker to follow him as 
quickly as possible, he took the road immediately. After a forced 
night-march he joined the commander-in-chief at Sharpsburg on 
the morning of the i6th of September. 

Let us note what had passed in the interval Lee, on entering 
Maryland, had no direct intention of attacking Washington or 


Baltimore, but wished to attract MacClellan towards the Cumber- 
land Valley, obHging him thus to leave those towns open, which 
would allow the Southern chief to throw himself suddenly on 
either of them, or force MacClellan to a battle at a distance from 
his base of operations. Consequently, on September loth, 
crossing South Mountain, Lee marched on Boonsboro', leaving 
General Stuart with his cavalry east of the mountains to watch 
the enemy. Longstreet bore down on Hagerstown at the news 
that some Federal forces were approaching on the Pennsylvanian 
side. General D. H. Hill halted at Boonsboro*, to prevent 
the Harper's Ferry garrison from escaping by Pleasant Valley, 
and to be v/ithin reach of supporting Stuart's cavalry. Harper's 
Ferry was expected to fall on the 13th, and the Federal army was 
advancing so slowly that Lee hoped to take the place and reunite 
all his columns' before MacClellan's arrival. Then he reckoned 
on marching into Pennsylvania. 

But all his projects miscarried in consequence of one of those 
accidents which reduce to nothing the best conceived plans. 
Since September 2nd, the Federals had lost no time. When the 
remains of Pope's army took refuge within the Washington lines, 
it became absolutely necessary to find a general who would restore 
confidence to the soldiers, re-establish order in their ranks, and 
put them in a state to re-open the campaign. MacClellan alone 
appeared to offer the wished-for conditions. Since his return 
from the James River, his duties had been limited to organising 
the defence of the capital. On the President's request, who offered 
him the command-in-chief of all the forces round Washington, 
MacClellan accepted, and determined to resume the offensive 
with vigour. The old army of the James and that of Pope were 
joined. General Burnside's corps was recalled from Fredericks- 
burg, and put under MacClellan's orders. On the 5th of Sep- 
tember, as soon as Lee's entry into Maryland was announced, 
the Federal chief hastened from Washington to meet him at 
Frederick City. The army of the Potomac marched by ^wq 

L 2 


parallel roads, and was so disposed as to cover at one and the 
same time both Washington and Baltimore, the left wing under 
General Franklin being supported on the Potomac, the centre 
under General Sumner, and the right wing, extending to the 
railway from Baltimore to Ohio, obeyed General Bumside. The 
efficient force of this army was 87,164 fighting men. So urgent 
was the occasion, that the reorganisation had to be accomplished 
during the march. The Federal commander-in-chief showed, 
under these critical circumstances, an energy above all praise. It 
was no trifling matter to assume the command of troops de- 
moralized and disaffected through a series of disastrous reverses, 
and, in ten days, to make of them a strong aniiy, perfectly 
organised, and in a condition to hold their own against the 

MacClellan knowing nothing of Lee's plans, advanced with 
caution. On September 12th, he reached Frederick, the Con- 
federate cavalry retiring on his approach. On the 13th, by an 
unhoped-for chance, there was brought him a confidential order of 
the day, addressed by Lee to General D. H. Hill, in which the 
plan of the Confederate campaign was clearly traced. Hill had 
lost this paper, and it had fallen into the hands of one of the 
pickets of the Federal troops. This prize, of the greatest import- 
ance, informed MacClellan of all Lee's schemes, the forces at his 
disposal, the positions they occupied, and gave him such an 
advantage over the Northern Virginian army as ought to lead to 
his annihilation. In brief, this paper put tlie Southern army at 
his mercy. 

To make the most of this unexpected good fortune, Mac- 
Clellan advanced rapidly, in order to seize the South Mountain 
defiles, cross into Pleasant Valley, there attack the Confederate 
divisions in detail, and help the garrison of Harper's Ferry, still in 
difficulties with Stonewall Jackson. On the evening of the 13th, 
while MacLav/s and Walker were taking up a position around 
this town, MacClellan appeared before the South Mountain defiles, 


repulsing Stuart's cavalry, which endeavoured to stop him, in order 
that Lee might have time to occupy the defiles and dispute the 
passage of the Federals. On leaving the Potomac to the north of 
the river, the Blue Ridge chain, extending into Pennsylvania, is 
called South Mountain. Two miles and a half further to the west 
rises a range of hills, the Maryland Heights, abutting opposite 
Harper's Ferry, on the Potomaa Between these two chains lies 
Pleasant Valley, about three miles wide ; the country is naturally 
uneven. Two roads lead from Frederick City to the western part 
of the State, the principal, or Hagerstown Road, crosses South 
Mountain through the defile of Turner's Gap, near the village of 
Boonsboro* ; another road passes through Crampton's Gap defile, 
five or six miles further south. These defiles are well-adapted for 
defence, the nature of the ground contributing to it admirably. 
But they can be taken in the rear by means of footpaths leading 
over the heights on the mountain-sides, whence the defiles are com- 
manded. MacClellan, thanks to what the order of the day had 
taught him, no longer ignorant of Lee's plans, resolved to hurl his 
centre and right against the defile leading to Boonsboro', while 
the left, imder Franklin, forced Crampton's Gap, threw itself on 
MacLaws's rear, defeated it, and then extended its assistance to 
Harper's Ferry. 

General Lee, on learning his enemy's presence at South 
Mountain, on the evening of September 13th, was much surprised, 
and at once comprehended, without knowing the fate of his order 
of the day, that MacClellan had divined his plan of campaign. 
General D. H. Hill immediately received orders to defend Turner's 
Gap at all hazards. No news had yet come from Harper's Ferry, 
and Lee considered the place would fall that very day, the 13th. 
He had calculated that after this date he would be able to reunite 
his forces, and hinder MacClellan's advance, and would have 
done so but for this unlucky paper. The South Mountain passes 
had been left unguarded on purpose to attract MacClellan towards 
the west of the State, and so to lure him from his resources ; this 


was a part of Lee's original plan. Thus it was to be, as provided 
for beforehand, on the 13th. But now all was changed. Harper's 
Ferr)', which should have been evacuated, still held out, and Mac- 
Clellan, no longer compelled to grope his way, had hastened his 
march. It was, therefore, necessary to stick to the defiles till the 
capture of Harper's Ferry, and retain MacClellan to the east of 
the mountains till the whole of the Confederate army had been 
reunited and was ready to receive him. 

Hill marched, therefore, with all his division, only 5000 strong, 
to the entrance of the Gap. General Longstreet received orders 
to march to his aid without losing a moment. A desperate 
struggle followed for the possession of the defile. It lasted all day 
with alternations of success and defeat. Night alone put an end to 
the combat. Longstreet, towards evening, had arrived to succour 
his colleague nearly crushed under the constantly increasing 
number of the Federals. The loss on both sides was very con- 
siderable. Lee perceiving the necessity of concentrating his army, 
and having received from Jackson a positive assurance that 
Harper's Ferry would fall next day, resolved to retire from South 
Mountain, and take up a position at Sharpsburg, whence he would 
be able to throw himself on the flank of all the hostile corps 
marching against MacLaws on the Maryland Heights, and would 
also be in a condition to reunite the various columns of his army. 
At Sharpsburg, too, he would be master of the fords of the 
Potomac, which secured, in case of misfortune, a line of retreat 
into Virginia. Consequently, during the night, the Confederate 
forces retired towards Antietam Creek, Fitz Lee's cavalry keeping 
the enemy at a distance. 

On the whole, although MacClellan had greatly disarranged the 
Southern chief's plan of campaign, the resistance at South Moun- 
tain, which lasted all day, had permitted General Jackson to effect 
the reduction of Harper's Ferry. MacClellan, therefore, had not 
succeeded in saving that place. There remained to him the 
resource of risking a battle according to rule. He conducted his 


army, on the night of September 14th, through the defiles abandoned 
by the Confederates. During the 15th the Northern forces slowly 
pursued their way, Lee's rear-guard from time to time turning 
round to retard their march. Towards night-fall MacClellan was 
suddenly in the presence of the whole Confederate army, drawn 
up in battle array, on the western side of Antietam Creek, a 
small tributary of the Potomac flowing in front of the village of 

We have already indicated by what unfortunate series of events 
Lee had been obliged to change his original plan of campaign. 
The reduction of Harper's Ferry had forced him to go out of his 
road, losing him much precious time. The finding of his order of 
campaign had given the Northern commander such an advantage 
as ought to have enabled him to annihilate the Southern army. 
Hill and Longstreefs resistance before South Mountain had in 
part remedied matters, but every necessity existed to halt on the 
edge of Antietam in order to give Jackson and his lieutenants 
time to rejoin the army. For the rest, with the Federals at his 
heels, it was impossible to avoid a battle, whatever might be Lee's 
design, whether he thought of returning to Virginia, or of directing 
his course into Pennsylvania. The most urgent step demanded 
was to stop the Federal army. All the chances appeared against 
Lee. His army was much reduced in number, and already some- 
what discouraged by the commencement of an unpropitious cam- 
paign. At Sharpsburg he had with him only 33,000 combatants, 
of which number the troops of Jackson, MacLaws, and Walker, 
14,000 in all, were not on the ground when the battle commenced. 
The Northern army amounted to 87,000 soldiers, abundantly 
supplied with everything, and having suffered incomparably less 
than the Confederates. 

The battle of Sharpsburg was one of the most eagerly contested 
in all the war. Taking account of the immense disproportion 
between the two armies, one cannot but be filled with admiration 
at the gallant defence of Lee's men. The Southern army 


occupied all the ground between the Potomac and Antietam, 
whose waters united, a little below Sharpsburg, at an angle of 
forty-five degrees, and covered the fords of the Potomac opposite 
Shepherdstown in Virginia. The troops were disposed on the 
western bank of the Antietam, with the village at their back. 
Longstreet was on the right, and his line extended to the Potomac, 
D. H. Hill commanded the centre on both sides of the road from 
Boonsboro ', and more immediately resting on the village. Jackson, 
who arrived on the i6th, took the left; the interval between him 
and Hill was filled up by Hood's division. At first Jackson's 
troops were held in reserve. The country between the extreme 
left and the Potomac was confided to the cavalry under Stuart 
There are three bridges over the Antietam in the neighbourhood 
of Sharpsburg, — one opposite Longstreet's position, the next 
opposite the Confederate centre, the third several thousand yards 
higher. Lee had not enough men to guard the last mentioned, 
and was forced to leave it open, not doubting that MacClellan 
would profit by it to take his left wing in the rear. 

The Federal army arrived on the banks of the Antietam at 
mid-day, on the 15th of September. Lee's arrangements had been 
so well planned, notwithstanding his numerical weakness, that 
MacClellan decided to await the arrival of all his troops before 
seeking to force the passage of the Creek. The rest of his army 
joined him' during the close of the day and the night following. He 
confided his left wing to Bumside, the centre to Porter, and Hooker 
and Sumner had the command of all the troops which extended to 
the right. Hooker's corps, supported by those of Sumner and 
Mansfield, was, as Lee had foreseen, to cross by the third bridge, 
and turn the Confederate left MacClellan passed the i6th in 
posting his artillery, and assigning a position to the different corps of 
infantry along the Creek, for he wished to force the hostile centre 
as soon as Hooker charged on the right To distract attention 
from the movement of his right wing, in the afternoon he opened 
a continuous fire all along his centre and left. The Confederate 



batteries, with much less calibre, were speedily reduced to silence. 
At four o'clock, p.m.. Hooker crossed the third bridge out of 
reach of the Confederate guns ; Lee, foreseeing this movement, 
had placed Hood's two brigades on his extreme left, covering his 
left Rank, and disposed at very acute angles with reference to the 
rest of his army. Hooker made an attempt on them at the end of 
the day, but Hood had no difficulty in holding his own. Their 
soldiers passed the night within rifle-shot of each other. On the 
1 7th, before daybreak, Mansfield's entire corps had joined Hooker. 
Sumner received orders to follow him at dawn. 

Lee, on the other hand, had advanced Jackson's corps for the 
support of Hood, his right being posted on the Hagerstown road, 
his left extending to the Potomac, protected by Stuart's cavalry 
and the horse artillery. Walker's two brigades rejoined Long 
street, and on the 17th, at 10 o'clock, a.m., Hood's soldiers were 
relieved by Lawton and Trimble's brigades from Eweil's division. 
The Confederate army thus formed a semi-circle, with its wings 
abutting on the Potomac. 

The morning of the 17th was announced by a concentrated fire 
from all the Federal batteries on the two banks of the Antietam. 
Thoscon the left bank raked all Jackson's line, and his men 
suffered cruelly. Supported by this terrible fire. Hooker pre- 
cipitated on them his 18,000 men, and tried to gain the Hagers- 
town Road and some woods on the left of tliat road. To oppose 
him Jackson only had the two divisions of Jones and Ewell, the 
latter really commanded by Lawton ; 4,000 bayonets in all, so 
much had desertion and the enemy's fire played havoc with their 

The Federal assault was vigorous, and a shower of grapeshot 
burst over the thinly-placed soldiers of Jackson. General Jones, 
being wounded, was replaced by General Starke. Jackson, ad- 

incing his line, drove the enemy back towards the left and centre, 
e brigades on D. H. Hill's eictreme left joined him, Stuart, 

iced between Jackson's left and the Potomac, drove back the 


Federal division at Hooker's extreme right by means of the well- 
directed fire of his mounted artillery. But the enemy endured the 
attack so obstinately that Jackson's soldiers began to tire and give 
way. His corps had suffered terribly. His division, properly so 
called, had lost successively its two generals (Jones wounded, 
Starke killed) ; General Lawton, temporary commander of Ewell's 
division, had just been mortally wounded. Colonel Douglas, who 
had replaced Lawton at the head of his brigade, was slain ; the 
brigade had lost 354, killed and wounded, out of 1150 men, in- 
cluding five colonels out of six. Hayes's brigade, out of 550 men, 
had lost 323 — and all its officers, — Colonel Walker was wounded, 
and out of 700 men in the brigade he temporarily commanded, 
228 had fallen, and three colonels out of four. 

In spite of these frightful losses, these heroes made a supreme 
effort, and succeeded in pressing Hooker's columns so briskly 
that signs of disorder appeared among them. On Lee's order. 
Hood's two brigades, having hastened to the succour of Lawton 
and Trimble, nobly took their part in the charge, but the Con- 
federates paid dearly for this success. Nevertheless their assault 
had been so vigorous that Hooker's soldiers began to leave the 
ranks towards the rear. Hooker himself, struck at that moment, 
had to leave the battle-field, which still further increased the 
disorder of his men. Mansfield's corps had joined Hooker's at 
7 o'clock, and charged likewise ; it was repulsed at the same time, 
and General Mansfield mortally wounded. 

It was 9 o'clock, and victory seemed to incline in favour of the 
South. Hooker and Mansfield's corps — 30,000 strong — had just 
been repulsed by Jackson's divisions, and Hood's two brigades — 
less than 6000 — and the two Federal generals were out of the 
combat, one seriously, the other mortally, wounded. The attempt 
to turn the left wing had been unsuccessful, and the Federal right 
wing appeared demoralized. At this critical juncture, the arrival 
of General Sumner with fresh troops restored order in the Northern 
ranks. He re-formed the line, and hurled it at the Confederate 


left, embracing in his attack the hostile centre, where D. H. Hill , 

Jackson's soldiers were tired out with the desperate struggle 
they had endured all the morning. Thus, they coukl not resist the 
impetuosity of this new attack. Ammunition failed diem, and they -, 
fell back io disorder. The Confederates, in their turn, appeared 
about to succumb, for if Sumner succeeded in turning Lee's left, 
the latter would see bis line of retreat towards the Potomac cut off. 
The vigorous, although ineffectual, resistance of Jackson's corps 
at this critical moment, gave Lee time to send to him Walker's two 
brigades, which he detaclied from Longstreet's corps, and Mac- 
Laws's division, which arrived from Harper's Ferry. Instantly re- 
forming his line, Jackson charged Sumner furiously, and penetrating 
an interval between his right and centre, pierced the Federal line, 
pursued it through the woods beyond Hagerstown Road, and 
regained the position he had occupied at die beginning of the 
, .battle. But Jackson had suffered too much, and his troops were 

3 few, for him to drive Sumner beyond the Antietim. It was 
Iboon. The enemy had failed in all his efforts to turn Lee's left 

Placed in the centre of his army, the Confederate commander 

d conducted the action so well, sending reinforcements at the 
^Opportune moment, and foreseeing each hostile movement, that he 
liad maintained his position against all the assaults of his enemy, 
Jackson, with less than 12,000 men (including here the reinforce- 
ments received during the action), had held his own, and ended by 
repulsing the 40,000 of Hooker, Mansfield, and Sumner, wounding 
the first, and kilhng the second. Sumner's soldiers were so tried 

Ein their last assault, that they did not stir for the remainder of the 
day. But in the centre the conflict continued. The Confederates 
were partly driven back to an old road, where Hill re-formed them 
and arrested the enemy's progress. General Anderson arrived on 
the ground with 3,000 men. Hill placed him in reserve. At this 
moment an order, misunderstood, caused several regiments to 
think they must retire, which allowed tlie enemy to rush into 


intervals left vacant. Generals Anderson and Wright were seriously 
wounded while trying to repair this disaster. General Hill, who 
at that moment was assisting in moving one of his aides-de-camp, 
who had been wounded, under shelter, so strongly did he believe 
his line safe, threw himself in front of his soldiers, rallied some 
hundreds of them, and at their head charged the enemy. They 
were now supported by the Confederate artillery, which made 
great ravages in the Federal ranks. The latter had so often got 
so near the Confederate positions, that their own cannon ceased 
firing, fearful of slaying soldiers .on its own side. At one time. 
General Longstreet, observing a gun with nearly all the artillery- 
men dead, dismounted, and he, with General Drayton, Adjutant- 
General Major Sorrel, and Major Fairfax, served the piece till the 
danger was past. At length Hill, by heroic efforts, succeeded in 
arresting the enemy, who, about two o'clock, retired, and no more 
renewed his attack that day. Lee ordered Jackson to drive the 
Federal right wing beyond the Antietam, by taking it in the rear, 
but Franklin's corps having meanwhile joined Sumner, Jackson had 
to give up the attempt 

On the Federal left. General Bumside had massed 15,000 men, 
facing the stone bridge opposite Longstreet's guarded position. He 
was, simultaneously with the attack on the Confederate left, to take 
the stone bridge, pursue the enemy from the Sharpsburg Heights, 
drive him into the road, and cut off Lee from the Potomac fords 
at Shepherdstown, which would have led to the destruction of the 
Southern army. In the morning he made various attempts, but 
without success. Lee was obliged successively to detach from the 
troops under Longstreet, the divisions of Hood, MacLaws, and 
Walker, to succour Jackson, while Longstreet remained with Jones's 
division only, numbering 2500 fighting men. This handful of 
soldiers had to defend the Confederate right against Bumside's 
entire corps. General Toombs, with only 400 men, was left in 
charge of the bridge. He succeeded in holding Bumside in check 
nearly all the day. At four o'clock, however, the latter, under the 


repeated orders of MacClellan, led his trpops in a body against 
the bridge, took it, passed over the bodies of Toombs and his few 
men, and, arriving on the crest of the heights defended by General 
Jones, charged him, and, in spite of his resistance, compelled him 
to give ground. Bumside at this late hour seemed on the point of 
seizing the victory. 

It was now that General A. P. Hill arrived from Harper's 
Ferry. His division, only 2000 strong, had marched since morn- 
ing. Lee ordered him immediately to the help of Jones. He 
joined him just when the latter, pressed by his foes, had left four 
pieces of cannon in their hands. Hill, uniting the two divisions, 
less than 5000 in all, rushed against Burnside's centre with so 
much force, that he swept back the Federal corps, re-captured the 
battery, and likewise all the ground lost, obliging the enemy to take 
refuge under the protection of his guns ranged on the other side of 
the Antietam. 

Thus terminated this important battle. At sunset the Con- 
federates still occupied the positions they had held in the morning, 
all the efforts of the enemy to dislodge them having been in vain. 
Their losses amounted to 8790 killed and wounded. The Federals 
lost 12,469, including 13 generals. 

It was nearly night when Bumside was repulsed. The enemy, 
waiting for Lee to profit by his success, and cross the river, placed 
their artillery on some heights commanding the bridges. But 
Lee was too wary to run fresh risks. His triumph was suffi- 
ciently great in that he was able, with so feeble a force, to resist 
victoriously one so superior in numbers. 

During the night reinforcements arrived to him, chiefly of 
soldiers sick and wounded in the early months of the year, who 
came to rejoin their regiments, or stragglers, who were continually 
coming in. On the i8th MacClellan had the choice, either to 
renew the attack at once, or put it off till the morrow, in order to 
allow time for the arrival of reinforcements from Washington. 
He decided to wait, although it was very probable Lee would 


cross into Virginia in the night between the i8th and 19th. 
During all the iSth the Confederate army remained in the same 
positions they had so valiantly offensive the previous eve* 
Although too weak to take the offensive, the Confederate com- 
mander felt sure of being able to repulse any new assault. On 
the night of the 18th he determined to recross the Potomac. He 
had nothing to gain by remaining where he was, and the dangers of 
his situation in Maryland were augmented hourly. His adversary 
was incessantly receiving reinforcements, while he himself could 
hope for no addition to his forces. It was only with the greatest 
difficulty he was able to feed his soldiers, and renew their supplies 
of powder and ammunition. If he returned to Virginia he could, 
on the contrary, hope to see the number of his troops increased. 
Stragglers, and the sick and wounded of the Peninsular campaign 
in the springtime, would continually return to his standard, the 
Government also would assemble reinforcements, and it would be 
much easier for them to join him in Virginia than in Maryland. All 
the wants of the army would not be difficult to satisfy south of the 
Potomac. In the night of the i8th Longstreet, who was nearest 
the river, crossed it close to Shepherdstown ; he was followed by 
the rest of the army, the cavalry bringing up the rear. At eleven 
o'clock, a.m., on the 19th of September, the entire army was in 
position on the Virginian bank, ready to receive the enemy in 
case of pursuit. Lee carried with him everything of value, 
victuals, provisions accumulated in Maryland, and the rich spoils 
of Harper's Ferry. 

As soon as MacClellan knew of Lee's retreat, on the morning 
of the 19th, he dispatched Porter's corps in pursuit, which had 
been held in reserve during the battle of the 17th. But the latter 
did not reach the Potomac till the Confederates had effected their 
crossing. Lee had left General Pendleton to watch the fords. 
Porter succeeded during the night in throwing on the southern 
bank a force sufficiently large to get possession of four Confederate 
cannon, to disperse Pendleton's feeble corps, and to establish 


himself strongly under the protection of the batteries raised on the 
Maryland bank. 

The Confederate army was already some distance from the 
river, but hardly had Lee heard what had happened, before he 
directed A. P. Hill to drive back Porter across the Potomac. On 
the morning of the 20th Hill took the position from the Federals, 
and inflicted on them a rough chastisement. He literally threw 
them into the river, where many were drowned. 200 prisoners 
were taken. The Federals confessed having lost more than 3000 
men, slain and drowned. Hill's loss amounted only to 261 men. 

MacClellan persisted no further. His army had as much need 
of rest as that of his foe. He remained, therefore, north of the 
Potomac, while the Confederates established themselves in the 
vicinity of Winchester. 

Lee*s troops, since the 25th of June, had marched more than 
280 miles, living on half rations, with uniforms in rags, and feet 
naked. In twelve pitched battles and numerous conflicts, they 
had met and defeated three formidable armies, inflicting on the 
enemy a loss of 76,000 men, of whom 30,000 were prisoners, and 
taking 155 guns and nearly 70,000 rifles, while seizing or destroy- 
ing also victuals and war-material representing a value of several 
million piastres. 

The battle of Sharpsburg was not a victory for MacClellan. 
He had attacked an army numbering scarce a third of his own, 
and been repulsed with a loss one third greater than that of his 
adversary. So rough had been the experience of his army that, 
had the 30,000 Confederate stragglers been present on the 17th 
of September, there is no doubt Lee would have driven the 
Federals before him to the east of the mountains. MacClellan, 
indeed, confessed the state to which his army had been reduced : 
"The next morning (i.e., after the Battle of Sharpsburg)," he says, 
** I found that our loss had been so great, and there was so much 

• The value of a piastre varies in different countries. A Spanish piastre is 
worth about 3/. \d. 


disorganization in some of the commands, that I did not consider 
it proper to renew the attack that day." 

With this battle the invasion of Maryland terminated, but it was 
not the battle alone which caused this termination. The unfore- 
seen delay caused by the necessity of taking Harper's Ferry, and 
especially the enormous gaps produced in the Southern army by 
the unusual number of stragglers, had so much deranged Lee*s 
projects, that he could no longer think of succeeding in a cam- 
paign in Maryland. The fate of the campaign, therefore, was 
really decided before the Battle of Sharpsburg, and Lee*s only 
wish in accepting battle, was to arrest MacClellan's march, and 
reunite the scattered divisions of his own army. 

In this Maryland campaign both adversaries had given proof of 
great military talent. After the Northern defeat at Manassas, 
MacClellan had assembled an army with marvellous rapidity, 
thanks chiefly to the influence of his own name, had conducted 
it against Lee and succeeded in stopping him, thus not only 
affording safety from invasion to the fertile province of Pennsyl- 
vania, but also disarranging, for the time, the plan which Lee had 
formed for the capture of the Federal capital. It is not, therefore, 
an exaggeration to say that he had saved the Northern cause, for 
to defend Washington there was only his own army, and if Lee 
had been able to get the better of it, Washington or Philadelphia 
would have been at his mercy, enabling him to dictate peace, 
and secure the acknowledgment of Southern independence. All 
hope of seeing this magnificent project realised, vanished before 
the rapid march and prompt attack of MacClellan. In a few 
hours, on an autumn day, the triumphant march of the Con- 
federates was arrested on the borders of the Antietam. Let us, 
therefore, do justice to the Federal general's skill. 
• But Lee's merit was no less, and his want of success was due 
to circumstances over which he had no control. His plan now, as 
always, had been maturely considered and perfectly combined. But 
three causes, which he could not foresee, spoiled everything. The 


first, his great loss of men, caused partly by his rapid movements 
and an uninterrupted succession of conflicts ; the second, the 
reluctance of the Marylanders to come to his ranks; and the 
third, and most important, the finding by MacClellan of that 
unlucky despatch, which revealed to him all Lee's plan. From that 
moment the Northern commander advanced so rapidly, that he 
gave no time to the Southern stragglers to rejoin the army. The 
gaps in the Confederate ranks, therefore, could not be filled 
up, and Lee was obliged to retreat, in order not to be too 
far away from Jackson, who was retained by the unexpected 
resistance at Harper's Ferry. Hence the impossibility of find- 
ing his way to Hagerstown, the forced concentration at Sharps- 
burg, and consequently the necessity of delivering battle in its 

The loss of Lee's despatch to Hill was a true fatality which 
exercised a preponderating influence over following events. It 
cannot, therefore, be said that the Southern chief was responsible 
for the failure of the Maryland campaign : he had, as far as 
possible, provided for everything. He was right to hope for 
great reinforcements, whether in Maryland or in Virginia ; thus his 
flanks would have been protected, and he would have been able 
without delay to invade Pennsylvania. Contrary to his expecta- 
tions, he was obliged to retire and give battle at Sharp sburg. 
Here, again, he revealed talents of the first order. The enemy, 
at least twice as numerous as his own army, never displayed more 
energy and eagerness at any period of the war. If the Federals 
were repulsed, it must be attributed to Lee's skill and his soldiers' 
valour. He manoeuvred his army with admirable rapidity and 
precision, multiplying his soldiers at the most exposed points. 
Indeed, at Sharpsburg, the precision of view and promptitude of 
action of which the Confederate commander gave proof, were 
most remarkable. An undecided or unforeseeing general would 
have experienced a complete defeat, for at the beginning of the 
action the Confederate left wing numbered but 4000 men, while 



the columns that rushed on it consisted of 18,000, and afterwards 
of 40,000 men. To resist such masses not only was there want- 
ing to the soldiers courage to be relied on, but also great skill 
and extraordinary rapidity in the management of troops to the 




General Lee's first care, on arriving at Winchester, was 
to procure his soldiers shoes and clothing. The citizens of 
Richmond on their part hastened to contribute to the needs of 
their heroic defenders. Stragglers were likewise looked up. They 
came in from all sides, well rested and recovered from their 
fatiguesT In less than a fortnight the army was increased by 
30,000 new men. The district in which they were was admirably 
adapted to restore to the soldiers health of body and elasticity of 
mind. Rest, mountain air, abundance of food, brought back life 
to these warriors, exhausted by the glorious fatigues of the two 
preceding campaigns. In the evening, after the day's drill, 
numerous groups were often seen, assembled under the trees, 
singing some religious hymn, a recollection of their infancy and 
family. The young chaplain talked in convincing terms of his 


holy mission, then another hymn was heard, and, by the glare of 
the half-extinguished torches, the groups of soldiers dispersed? 
silent and reflecting. 

The Confederates, far from being discouraged by later events, 
acquired an increase of faith in themselves, looking reasonably 
on the battle of Sharpsburg, where the enemy was so superior 
in numbers, as a feat of arms altogether honourable. Their 
confidence in their officers, especially in General Lee, was 

M 2 


much augmented. Thanks to this sentiment, which, later, was de- 
veloped to a point unheard of, Lee did extraordinary things. His 
men felt that he was a man to bear no matter what test, and in 
such cases the soldier is rarely deceived : he judges for himself. 
Lee had already been able to inspire them with a profound 
admiration for his military talents ; his goodness, the care which 
he took of them, his simplicity soon caused him to be adored. In 
all this campaign not an impatient word had escaped him. Always 
in the front rank, indifferent to danger, he displayed a paternal 
sweetness towards all his subordinates ; his soldiers regarded that 
firm and upright form with a constantly increasing feeling of 
affection, robed in its simple uniform of grey, that quiet coun- 
tenance, that expression full of dignity and serenity, impassive 
alike amid the tiresomeness of the march and in the tumult of 
batde. " There is Uncle Robert,*' they would exclaim one to 
another, as he passed, crowding round him, cheering him, and 
shaking his hands. 

The country generally shared this feeling. Everywhere where 
he pitched his camp the neighbours came in crowds to see him. 
An English officer who passed some time in the Confederate 
camp near Winchester, speaks of it thus : 

" In visiting the head-quarters of the Confederate generals, but 
particularly those of General Lee, any one accustomed to see 
European armies in the field cannot fail to be struck with the 
great absence of all the jffomjf> and circumstance of war in and 
around their encampments. Lee's head-quarters consisted of 
about seven, or eight pole-tents, pitched with their backs to a 
stake fence, upon a piece of ground so rocky that it was un- 
pleasant to ride over it, its only recommendation being a little 
stream of good water, which flowed close to the generaFs tent. 
In front of the tents were some three four-wheeled waggons, 
drawn up without any regularity, and a number of horses roamed 
loose about the field. The servants, who were, of course, slaves, 
and tli^ mounted soldiers, called couriers^ were unprovided with 


tents, and slept in or under the waggons. Waggons, tents, and 
some of the horses, were marked U,S,y — showing that part of that 
huge debt in the North has gone to furnishing even the Con- 
federate generals with camp equipments. No guard or sentries 
were to be seen in the vicinity; no crowd of aides-de-camp 
loitering about, making themselves agreeable to visitors. ... A 
large farmhouse stands close by, which, in any other army, would 
have been the general's residence /r^ tem, ; but, as no liberties are 
allowed to be taken with personal property, in Lee's army, he is 
particular in setting a good example himself. His staff are 
crowded together, two or three in a tent ; none are allowed to 
carry more baggage than a small box each, and his own kit is but 
very little larger. Every one who approaches him does so with 
marked respect, although there is none of that bowing and 
flourishing of forage caps which occurs in the presence of European 
generals; and while all honour him, and place implicit faith in 
his courage and ability, those with whom he is most intimate feel 
for him the affection of sons to a father. Old General Scott was 
correct in saying that, when Lee joined the Southern cause, it 
was worth as much as the accession of 20,000 men to the rebels. 
Since then, every injury that it was possible to inflict, the 
Northerners have heaped upon him. His house on the Pamunkey 
River has been entirely destroyed, and his beautiful estate on 
Arlington Heights pillaged of all it contained. All the relics of 
George Washington — such as pictures, books, plate — have been 
stolen, to be exhibited in the galleries of Northern towns. Not- 
withstanding all these personal losses, however, when speaking 
of the Yankees, he neither evinced any bitterness of feeling, nor 
gave utterance to a single violent expression, but alluded to many 
of his former friends and companions among them in the kindest 
terms. He spoke as a man proud of the victories won by his 
country, and confident of ultimate success, under the blessing of 
the Almighty, whom he glorified for past successes, and whose 
aid he invoked for all future operations." 


The Confederate Government, profiting by the experience of 
the later military operations, divided the different armies into 
corps. The army of Northern Virginia, with which we are specially 
occupied, was divided into two corps, the first placed under the 
command of Major-General Longstreet, the second under that of 
Major-General Jackson. The first corps consisted of the divisions 
of MacLaws, Hook, Picket, and Walker; the second those of 
A. P. Hill, Ewell, and the division formerly under Jackson, now 
under General Tagliaferro. General D. H. Hill was at the head 
of the reserve, the cavalry remained under Stuart, and the artillery 
under Pendleton. At the end of October the army reckoned 
between 55,000 and 60,000 fighting men; but Lee had many 
difficulties to surmount in order to fill up gaps, and retain soldiers 
under his flags. The Confederate troops were badly paid when 
the depreciation of paper money is taken into account. Their 
patriotism was so much the more glorious. While the Federal 
soldier's pay was higher than it has ever been in any country or 
time, the average of the Confederate's, from May 1861 to April 
1865, was 383^^ cents, worth, so much was paper money depre- 
ciated, about 2 francs (/>. about \s, 7^.). A soldier who sells his 
life at this price cannot be suspected of mercenary motives. 
Likewise, in consequence of the many hardships and conflicts, the 
number of wounded and sick was very high. Most of these were 
sent to Richmond, Petersburg, and Lynchburg. The Southern 
hospitals were too few and ill-provided ; of necessity, therefore, 
many were allowed to return to their own hearths to be taken 
care of; convalescents also, leaving the hospitals, received leave 
to go home and recover themselves more rapidly. A great 
number of these never returned to their standards. 

Placed at Winchester, the key of the lower Shenandoah Valley, 
General Lee was in position to watch the line of the Potomac in 
his front, where the army of MacClellan was, and also the Blue 
Ridge passes on his right, by which the enemy might, by a rapid 
movement, march on his flank or rear. Posted in this advantageous 


P position he let more than a month pass, the two armies watching \ 

I one another. When the Confederates retired on Winchester, \ 

\ General Jackson was directed, as far as possible, to destroy the 

railway frora Ohio to Baltimore, the principal way of communica- 
tion between the West and East, of which the enemy made great 
^^^K Qse for re victualling. He completely fulfilled his mission, cutting 
^^^^■Away the bridges over an extent of thirty-seven miles, rendering 1 
^^^^Bthe road utterly impracticable for a long time. { 

^^^H MacCIelian, having left, for purposes of observation, at Harper's I 
^^^^»erry and on the neighbouring heights, two corps under General 
^^^HSuroner, was occupied in reorganizing his troops, and putting . 
^^^Hvthem in a condition to undertake a new campaign against the I 
^^^|>. Southern capital For that matter, his resources were ten times 1 
^^^^ those of his adversary. During this interval nothing happened of | 
' importance, except a cavalry skirmish, in which Colonel W. H. F. 

Lee, son of the commander-in-chief, distinguishe<i himself, and 

k which terminated in the retreat of the Federal cavalry. On the 
8th of October, in order somewhat to ascertain what was passing 
Irith the enemy, and to know something of his movements and 
position, Lee directed Stuart to conduct a reconnoitring expedition 
into Pennsylvania. I 

On the 9th, at the head of rSoo horse and 4 pieces of artillery, I 
under the command of General Hampton and Colonels W. H. F. I 
Lee and Jones, he began his march. Very strict orders had been 
given to the soldiers to conduct themselves with prudence, and j 
abstain from acts of violence. Their errand was limited to | 
the taking of horses or other legitimate prizes, and, above all, ' 
to obtaining every sort of information about the enemy's forces 
and movements. On the morning of the loth the Confederate 
column crossed the Potomac at MacCoy's, above Williams- 
porL Some Federal sentries took flight. A large corps of 
Federal troops had just passed on the road to Cumberland. 
Stuart would have liked to march on Hagerstown, where he knew 
the Federals had amassed a good deal of war-material, but he i 


feared giving them warning ; consequently, he hastened onwards. 
At night he reached Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, and sum- 
moned it to surrender on pain of bombardment: the muni- 
cipal authorities did not appear. Stuart took possession of the 
town. All he had from individuals was paid for in paper- money. 
Every\vhere the soldiers demanded permission to have the benefit 
of fire and water. The officers begged for coffee, and conducted 
themselves with the utmost politeness, asking to be allowed to 
warm themselves at the fireside while their repast was preparing. 
This method of procedure was in striking contrast to that of the 
Federal troops in the South. At Williamstown, in South Carolina, 
these latter respected not a house, whether the owners were 
present or not. They forced the doors, carried off what they 
could, and destroyed the remainder. Frequently the houses were 
burnt. Many a time the sick and bed-ridden were maltreated and 
deprived of all they had. One of the diversions of these brave 
warriors was to leave nothing to eat in a house. Naturally enough 
all they could take was carried off, — horses, arms, clothing. They 
even broke open locked coffers and emptied them in sight of their 
owners. The citizens' pockets were searched without scruple. All 
this took place without the least effort on the part of the officers 
to stop the pillage. Often, indeed, these gentlemen did not 
disdain to appropriate pianos, pictures, plate. How many families, 
whom terror caused to flee at the approach of the Northern soldiers, 
found, on their return, that clothing, bedding, plate, books, had 
disappeared; that furniture, dishes, gates, windows, harness, 
carriages, had been carried off or broken ; partitions and fences 
burnt; all the corn, vegetables, provisions, carried off or spoilt 
— in a word, ruin, absolute, complete ! The Southerners in 
Pennsylvania conducted themselves differently. 

Next day, the nth of October, the Confederates destroyed a 
great quantity of arms and ammunition ; the telegraph wires were 
cut, and the railway-station, tool-houses, engines, and several 
railway waggons loaded with war-material, were delivered to the 


^^^Vfiames, In a military hospital 275 invalids were made prisoners 
^^^H- on parole. 

^^^H The telegraph had promptly spread the news of Stuart's raove- 
^^^■1 meats in the North. It caused there lively discontent and great I 
^^^V agitation; MacClellao, fully resolved not to let him escape now, ( 
^^^ as on the Chickahominy, took every precaution to cut off his 
I retreit towards the Potomac. General Pleasanton with his 

I cavalry set off in pursuit, with orders to spare neither men nor 

} horses. Genera! Crook, whose division was loaded in waggons at 

f Hancock, kept ready to march in case Stuart returned to cross the 

river in that neighbourhood. General Bumside posted two 
brigades in railway carriages at Monocacy, with engines alight 
prepared to start to no matter what part of the line, on receipt of 
^^^ signals that the Confederate troopers were there. At Harper's 
^^^^B Ferry and all the fords of the river the greatest vigilance was 
^^^■adopted. The approaches of Frederick, on the Chambersburg 
^^^V Road, were scoured in every direction by Colonel Rush's lancers, 
^^^Bin order to warn fiurnside at the earliest moment of Stuart's 
^^^K'Coming. General Stoneman was stationed at Poolesville with his 
^^^B division, to watch the fords below the mouth of the Monocacy, J 
^^^1 and had orders to prevent the Confederate column from recrossisg 1 
^^^B the river at all hazards. | 

^^^B Stuart, although he knew nothing about all the hostile cavalry 
^^^K:ftnd four or five divisions of infantry being in pursuit of him, little 
^^^P doubted that the enemy would seek to intercept his retreat by the 
I upper Potomac. So he determined to return by Leesburg, the 

most direct road. Leaving Chambersburg on the morning of the 
[ nth, he marched first towards Gettysburg, to deceive the inha- 

bitants of the district, then, the Blue Ri,dge being passed, he 
returned on his own steps towards Hagerstown for six or seven miles, 
and then changing his route, marched direct on Emmetsburg, in 
Maryland, where he was enthusiastically received. Shortly before, 
I a squadron of Rush's lancers had passed there in search of him. 

^^^ Without halting he went on to Frederick, getting possession of a 


carrier of one of Rush's despatches. The reading of this paper, 
while telHng him the enemy knew not where he was, gave him a 
hint of the preparations to intercept him. 

The Federal cavalry under Averill and Pleasanton followed 
him swiftly : but Stuart, aware of the dangers which surrounded 
him, redoubled his efforts, and directed his march towards the 
Potomac. Crossing the Monocacy a little above Frederick, he 
went on all night by Liberty, Newmarket, and Monrovia, on the 
railway between Baltimore and the Ohio. At daybreak on the 
13th, the column was at Hagerstown, on the high road from 
Washington, which connected MacClellan*s camp with the capital. 
Here they found only some waggons, and the retreat was con- 
tinued to Barnesville, which a Federal squadron of cavalry had 
just quitted. During his march, Stuart had learnt something more 
of MacClellan*s plan besides what Colonel Rush's despatch in- 
formed him of; indeed, all the plan was revealed to him, namely, 
that a division of 5000 men watched the fords in his front. 

Convinced that the boldest course was at the same time the 
safest, he marched rapidly, straight for the Potomac, resolved to 
force his way across in spite of the enemy. Without losing a 
moment, he started for Poolesville. Shortly before arriving there, 
he turned to the right into the woods, and gained the road which 
leads from Poolesville to the mouth of the Monocacy. The 
squadron at the head of the column soon descried General 
Pleasanton's column also marching towards Poolesville. Stuart 
charged and defeated it, forcing it back on the infantry. The 
latter advanced to recapture the ground lost by the cavalry. Just 
then Colonel Lee's skirmishers leaped from their horses, and held 
the enemy in check, till Pelham was able to get a gun into 
position. Under protection of its fire, and sheltered behind the 
elevation on which it stood, Stuart made bis column defile towards 
White's Ford, putting to flight, by the aid of his other guns, nearly 
two hundred Federal foot soldiers posted on the "Virginian bank. 
Happily there was little water in the Potomac, and the Confede- 


f irates crossed without inconvenience. Scarcely was he in Virginia ' 
when General Stoneman's cavalry and infantry arrived in hot 
haste from Poolesville, but Pelhann's two cannon, which had been 
taken across the river, opened a fire brisk enough to stop all 
pursuit In the evening Stuart retired from the Potomac, and, on 
the 14th of October, rejoined the army at Winchester, having 

r Jost but five tnen, though bringing back many horses, and some 
valuable information as to the disposition of the hostile forces. In 
twenty-four hours Stuart's column had marched about eighty miles. 
This raid astonished and irritated the Federals much. They in 
their turn made several unimportant reconnoitrings ; but Mac- 
Clellan was obliged to end his immobility, accomplish his prepara- 
tions in haste, and obey an order telegraphed by President 
Lincoln to this effect : " Cross the Potomac, and give battle to 

_ the enemy, or drive him southwards." 

The Federal army now under arms numbered 110,000 men. 

L The season was very favourable for offensive operations, and the ■ 
Federal Government eagerly desired to profit by it, and carry the 

I war into Southern territory. 

MacClellan had the choice of two plans; to ascend the 
Shenandoah Valley directly, and attack Lee from the front ; or ' 
alter Virginia to the east of the Blue Ridge, and endeavour to 
place himself bejween the Confederate army and Richmond, 
■sident Lincoln preferred the latter plan, and promised to make 

FMacClellan's army up to 140,000 men. The Federal commander- 
in-chief would have liked better to enter by the Shenandoah 
Valley, because he feared Lee would recross the Potomac if the 
Federals ceased their watch. The approach of the rainy season 
n quieted him on this subject, for at such times the fords of the 

I Potomac are impassable. Therefore he decided finally to enter 
Virginia to the east of the Blue Ridge, but he delayed beginni 
his march so long, that, on the 6th of October, the President 
transmitted to him a formal order to open the campaign. Conse- 
quently, on the 26th of October, the Federal army crossed the J 


Potomac at Berlin, five miles below Harper's Ferry. On the 2nd 
of November all the army was on the other side of the river. 

The Shenandoah Valley, where Lee was encamped, is separated 
from Piedmontese Virginia, into which MacClellan was about to 
advance, by the inferior wooded heights of the Blue Ridge 
Mountains, which can only be crossed by certain defiles termed 
gaps ; these are the natural gates of the Valley. So long as the 
Federal commander occupied these defiles with sufficient forces, 
he was sure his rear would not be disturbed, and he could at any 
time enter the Valley and throw himself on the Confederate flank. 

Although the Federal general had taken the precaution of 
seizing all these defiles or passes of the Blue Ridge as he 
advanced, the better to mask his march, the real end of the 
movement of the Northern army did not escape Lee. He broke 
up his camp on the banks of the Opequan, and began to follow, 
on a parallel line, the march of his foe. A division of Long- 
street's corps was detached to Upperville, to watch, from a nearer 
point, the movements of the enemy. Jackson was posted between 
Berryville and Charlestown, to prevent the Federals from emerging 
into the Valley, whether from Harper's Ferry or by the mountain 
passes. On the last day of October Lee, ascertaining that the 
Northern army was marching from the Blue Ridge in the direction 
of Warrenton, brought up Longstreet's entire corps to Culpepper 
Court House, which was reached on the 3rd of November. In 
order to disquiet MacClellan about the safety of his communications, 
Jackson still remained at Millwood ; at the same time one of his 
divisions advanced to the east of the Blue Ridge. Assuredly, thus to 
divide his army into two parts was to expose himself to great danger, 
but so necessity dictated to the Confederate commander. Little by 
little the Confederate troops were concentrated at Warrenton. 
Every day the cavalry outposts skirmished with varying success^ 
The Southern cavalry under Stuart rendered immense services, 
notwithstanding the jaded state of most of their horses ; they never 
left the flanks of the hostile army, and its slightest movements 



■were immediately signalled. Suddenly, when Lee awaited 
anxiously his opponent's plan of campaign, the Washington Govern- 
ment, on the 7th of November, without previous warning, withdrew 
MacClellan from the command of the army of the Potomac. The 
Radicals, fearing lest at a later period he would be nominated as 
the Conservative candidate for the Presidency, and not wishing to 
let him acquire fresh claims to the gratitude of his fellow country- ■ 
men, obtained his recall, under pretence that he had not 
accomphshed all that might reasonably be expected of him ; he 
had, however, done too much to deserve such an excess of 
ingratitude. Thus finished the military career of the best general 
the North had. General Bumside, his old division-genera!, 
succeeded him, after hesitating some time before accepting the 
high position olTered to him, as well because of his friendship for 
MacClellan as from a conviction of his own insufficiency. 

In retiring from the Valley, Lee had given proof of that 
jnixture of audacity and prudence which marks the tme warrior. 
He could either throw himself with all his army on MacClellan, 
and, which seemed to be his object, on Gordonsville, or manceuvre 1 
in such a manner as to retard and embarrass his adversary. It was , 
the latter plan he adopted, although by it be ran a great risk. 
Jackson remained in the Valley, and Longstreet marched on 
Culpepper. MacClellan could thus, at his choice, crush one or 
the other of the two Confederate corps; but Lee knew his adver- 
sary's character, and felt he need not fear so hardy a step on his 
part Nevertheless he had taken his precautions even in this 
,event. Jackson, in case of attack, was to retire by Strasburg and 
Tejoin his chief. Thus Lee, by leaving his heutenant in the 
Valley, fat from having committed a blunder, gave a striking proof 
of ability, and put his adversary in a dilemma, for Jackson, prompt 
as a flash of lightning, could at any moment march on the enemy's 
rear. By causing one of Jackson's divisions to advance to the 
east of the Blue Ridge, Lee did but accentuate his threat. There- { 
foie MacClellan relinquished all idea of attacking one of the 


two Confederate corps, and only employed himself in establishing 
a new base, whence he could march direct on Richmond. 

The Confederate commander in all this had another object in 
view, namely, to gain time to render all attack upon Richmond 
impossible, regard being had to the season of the year. This, 
indeed, happened. Had MacClellan remained at the head of the 
Federal forces, and the battle of Fredericksburg not taken place, it 
is probable that the two armies separated by the upper Rappa- 
hannock would have remained in each other's presence during the 
whole winter, and that the Confederate forces, exhausted by the 
long marches and sanguinary combats of 1862, would at length 
have tasted a repose so well deserved, and been prepared for the 
struggles yet to come. 

MacClellan's supersession by Bumside, who had, in spite of the 
nearness of winter, conceived the idea of crossing the Rappa- 
hannock at Fredericksburg, and marching on Richmond, gave 
quite another direction to events. 

The new commander-in-chiefs first act was a blunder. He lost 
ten days in reorganising his army into six corps. On the 17 th of 
November there was no time left to march on Richmond ; the 
season of rain and bad roads was near, and would put an end to 
any extensive military operations. Bumside could have attempted 
a decisive blow by taking advantage of the disposal of the Con- 
federate army, Jackson being still in the Valley two days' march 
from Longstreet. But, on the contrary, he resolved to march on 
Fredericksburg, and take up a position on the south bank of the 
Rappahannock before Lee could be aware of it ; second blunder. 
It was nowhere in his intention to make use of Fredericksburg as 
a base of operations against Richmond, but simply to pass the 
winter there, to be able in the spring to proceed easily by water 
to the James River. Mr. Lincoln having confirmed his authority, 
on the 15th of November the Federal army began its' march 
along the north bank of the Rappahannock towards Falmouth 
opposite Fredericksburg. There it found some pontoon-bridges 

F sent from Was 

across to the 



n Washington, which would serve for sending the troops 
1 the other side. Then Burnside reckoned oa posting 
liimself strongly on the heights behind Fredericksburg. 

Lee, on ascertaining the movement of the hostile army, was 
much tempted to attack it, and drive it back towards the Orange 
and Alexandria railway, but his numerical weakness paralysed 
him. Shortly before, he had told his government that he had too 
few troops to risk a pitched battle, and was limiting himself to 
strategic movements, not meaning to deliver battle unless Burnside 

^^^^ whert 


exposed him If ry prud ly C N 

mb 5th, diming 

that Frede k b j, h F d 1 b 

h inforced the 

garrison th 1 gi f mf ry 

d battery of 

artillery. ■ On h 7 h tn d f L 

g s corps and 

W. H. F. L 1 y b J d 

f 11 w. Jackson 

received ord rs f m h V 11 

d upy Orange 

Court Hou S rt n f 

f Warrenton, 

where hear dd yf hdp 

f the enemy's 

:argiiard, put Bumside's intentions beyond doubt. On the igth, 

le marched towards Fredericksburg with the other divisions of 

ingstreet's corps. 

It will be asked, perhaps, why Lee did not repeat against 
iside the manceuvre he had so successfully tried against 
'MacClellan. A look at the map will suffice for an answer. 
Burnside took a new base, Acquia Creek, on the lower Potomac 
The configuration of the country neutralised all efforts to cut him 
off from it. The Federals would have been able to fall back on 1 
the Potomac, and render useless all Jackson's manteuvres, or 
those of any other Confederate corps whatever. Lee was a first- 
rate tactician. He manceuvred admirably, himself watching the 
most trifling details. When the battle day came, feeling he had 
done all he could, and that, humanly speaking, all necessary ' 
precautions were taken, he usually allowed a certain latitude to 1 
his division generals. 

If General Sumner, when he arrived with the Federal van J 


opposite Fredericksburg on the 17th of November, had imme- 
diately crossed the Rappahannock, the feeble Confederate garrison 
would have been unable to hinder him from getting possession of 
the heights behind Fredericksburg. But Bumside's orders, were 
peremptory, and no detachment was to attempt the passage 
before all the army had arrived. On the night of the 20th, all 
the Federal forces were concentrated in the neighbourhood of 
Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg. 

Lee had not lost a moment, and on the 21st he occupied the 
heights behind Fredericksburg in person, having with him all 
Longstreet's corps, D. H. Hill's division, and all the cavalry. 
Jackson's corps was at Orange Court House, and had orders to 
join the rest of the army on the 26th. Bumside, in refusing to cr6ss 
the Rappahannock, had declined the only opportunity of be- 
coming master of the heights. On arriving, the first object which 
met his view was the adversary, whom he had hoped to baffle, 
tranquilly established on those same heights, and ready to dispute 
his passage across the river. He found himself obliged, therefore, 
to establish his communications with Acquia Creek, on the 
Potomac, and to prepare to take the new Confederate positions 
by sheer force. His first care was to reconstruct the railway 
connecting Acquia Creek with the Rappahannock. He drew up 
his army along the latter river, from a point above Falmouth to a 
point opposite Port Royal. 

Lee profited by this respite to fortify himself carefully. To 
prevent the Federal gunboats from ascending the river and sup- 
porting the land forces, he constructed, four miles below 
Fredericksburg, on the right bank, a strong battery, protected by 
intrenchments. Strong cavalry detachments guarded the fords 
above the town, and W. H. F. Lee's brigade was directed to 
watch the enemy on this side. Behind the town, the Southern 
army occupied a very formidable defensive position, the left being 
supported on the river, one and a half miles above Fredericksburg, 
the right extending beyond the railway which leads to Richmond. 



This position, it is true, was commanded by the Stafford Heights, , 
JD the hands of the Federals. To obviate this disadvantage ' 
as much as possible, the Confederates raised some ramparts and 
earth-works on the summit of the heights they occupied. The ■ 
plain in which the town was situated was also commanded by the 
fire of the batteries on the opposite side, and the narrow stream, 
confined between steep and woody banks, offered so many facili- 
ties to throw bridges across out of the reach of the Confederate 
artillery, that Lee was obliged to renounce all idea of preventing 
the enemy from crossing the river. His sole aim, therefore, was 
so to place himself as to be able to arrest the Federals when once 
they had effected their passage. He contented himself with 
placing troops along the bank, sheltered by houses and trees, to 
retard the enemy's attack as much as possible. 

For two days the weather was very dirty, and rain was falling in 
torrents, when, on th t f No mb t fi 1 ck. General 

Sumner sent a flag of tr to d mand 1 rr nd f Fredericks- 
burg, threatening, in f f al, to I n b d th town next 
day at nine o'clock S n^ h th t t w defenceless, 
and could not, from mil tary p nt of w b f ny use to the 
Confederates, since the Federal batteries swept all the streets, 
Sumner, be it said to his praise, did not execute his menace. 
Most of the inhabitants took Lee's advice, and sought refuge in 
the neighbourhood. The cold was severe; they had much to 
endure, but not a murmur was heard, and every one was ready to 
sacrifice all he possessed for the triumph of the Southern cause. 
The Confederate army, although itself short of victuals, did all it 
could to relieve the unfortunate fugitives. Eumside would have 
liked to postpone the resumption of hostilities till the spring, but 
neither the government nor people of the North would cease 
demanding of him to take the offensive against Lee immediately. 
They desired that Richmond should be taken before Christmas. 
He had nothing, therefore, to do but be resigned and obey. He 
had it within his power to cross the Rappahaimock above or below 


the position occupied by the Confederate army, and, by threaten- 
ing to turn it, compel it to abandon the heights where it was so 
strongly intrenched. This, indeed, was the thought he had when 
he began to concentrate his army twelve miles below Falmouth, at 
Shenkefs Neck; but, perceiving D. H. Hill's division on the 
opposite side, and all Jackson's corps ready to support it in case 
of need, he gave up his project. Believing Lee had withdrawn 
his garrison at Fredericksburg to send forces to Shenkefs Neck, 
he determined to profit by it, and march on the front of Lee's 
position before the latter was able to reunite his troops. Bum- 
side's calculation supposed on the part of the Confederate general 
a want of foresight altogether foreign to his character. 

General Hampton, having reconnoitred on the 28th of 
November, was able to re-assure Lee as to any hostile designs 
on his left flank. He could, therefore, give all his attention to 
the Federal movements at Falmouth. 

On the night of the loth December, General Hunt, the com- 
mander of the Federal artillery, ranged, on the Stafford Heights, 
opposite Fredericksburg, and at some distance below, 147 cannon 
of huge calibre, to cover the passage of the river, and command 
the town and sxirrounding plain. The Federal column^ were 
formed on heights several hundred feet from the bank, and the 
engineers began to throw five bridges over the Rappahannock, 
three connecting Falmouth with Fredericksburg, two others about 
one and a quarter mile lower down, where the watercourse called 
Deep Run falls into the Rappahannock. All preparations were 
combined with the greatest care, and at twoVclock on the morning 
of December nth the engineers silently put themselves to work. 

Three or four Confederate regiments, under the orders of 
General Barksdale, were posted as skirmishers on the edges of 
the southern bank. A thick mist covered the river during the 
night, and the Federals hoped, thanks to this veil, their works 
would not be noticed. But, shortly after two o'clock, an unusual 
movement on the bank opposite attracted the attention of the 



Confederate sentinels, and, at tliree o'clock, two cannon shots 
announced that the alarm had been given. About four o'clock, 
the rays of the moon piercing the fog indistinctly revealed the 
shadowy outlines of the engineers energetically at work to fix 
their floating-bridges, A brisk and well-directed fire, which the 
Confederate riflemen opened, put them to flight, leaving several 
lead and wounded behind. Two fresh Federal attempts to 
lew the work met with the same result Two Northern 
iments, sent to cover the workmen, lost in a few minutes 150 
men. It was, therefore, necessary to try and dislodge the 
Mississippiana sheltered behind their stone walls. 

At ten o'clock in the morning, the Federal batteries opened for 
an hour a tremendous fire on the south bank, but without doing 
the Confederates much harm ; — for Lee's army was too far off" to 
suffer from it, and Barksdale's skirmishers, thanks to the hostile 
artillerymen finding it impossible to incline their guns sufficiently 
to fire their shells at them, were too near the water's edge to be 
reached. But the rest of the town, in which were huddled to- 
gether women and children, was soon in flames. Not a house but 
was struck ; the poor inhabitants took refuge, some in their cellars, 
;others in the country round, making their way through a shower 
cannon balls. Nothwiths tan ding this cruel and useless act 
Bumside did not attain his end, and from the opposite bank Con- 
federate carbines carried off ail his engineers whenever they pre- 
sented themselves to resume their work. He then decided 00 
throwing three regiments across the water. In spile of Barks- 
dales's resistance this movement succeeded ; the Confederates were 
obliged gradually to retire into the upper part of the town, the 
bridges were constructed, and during the night of the i ith and day- 
time of the 1 2th, the Federal army crossed the river; on the morning 
of the 13th, it was drawn up in order of battle in front of the Con- 
federate position. Thanks to a thick fog, the Northern army was 
not disturbed in these movements, ^General Lee, out of regard for 
die town, not wishing to open an artillery fire at hazard. Generals 


D. H. Hill and Jackson having been recalled from Port Royal, 
all the Northern Virginian army found itself reunited on the heights 
of Spottsylvania. The position which the Confederate general- 
issimo had chosen was very strong. The range of hills held by 
him starts from the river, 550 yards above the town. The ground 
rises nearly perpendicularly, without trees or bushes to afford 
shelter to attacking columns. Here was the Confederate left 
under Longstreet. Hence the heights extended in a semi-circle 
to the right, being crossed by the Richmond railway at a place 
nearly two miles behind the town, giving to the Confederate line 
an extent of nearly five miles. Between the river and these hills 
the country is uneven, but very open. As the heights recede from 
the river, their elevation decreases, and their sides become 
furnished with trees. At their base flows a little stream, the Deep 
Run, which falls into the Rappahannock close to Fredericksburg, 
and whose abrupt banks offer to an attacking column admirable 
shelter. All the heights were furnished with artillery. Jackson's 
corps occupied the centre and right, and extended to Massa- 
ponnax Creek. Stuart's cavalry formed the extreme right in the 
plain, where the marshes of the Massaponnax stretch away to 
the Rappahannock. 

Great was the joy in both armies at the prospect of a conflict ; 
both sides were full of hope, and there had been time to prepare 
for a struggle which, to all appearance, would be decisive. 

Not having succeeded in surprising Lee, the Northern com- 
mander proposed to carry the Southern position by assault 
General Franklin, who commanded the Federal left, was to try and 
pierce the enemy's line at Hamilton's Crossing, a passage level 
with the railway. Jackson had charge of the diefence at this point, 
which was reasonably regarded as the weakest and most exposed 
part of the Confederate line. Franklin was at all hazards to be- 
come master of the road and railway leading to Richmond. Then, 
if success crowned his colleague's efforts, Sumner, with the rest of 
the army, was to carry by assault the heights on the Confederate left 



r On the morning of the 13th of December, all the country | 

Biround Fredericksburg was covered by a dense fog. Quite early, I 

the hostile batteries on Stafford Heights opened their fire on the 

Confederate position commanded by Longstreet. Already Generals 

Frankhn and Sumner were forming their columns of attack. 

At eight o'clock, Lee left his head-quarters, and went with 
Generals Jackson aad Stuart to inspect the portion of the line at 
Hamilton's Crossing. Received everywhere with enthusiasm, the 
Confederate commander, after having passed along the front of 
his army, placed himself on the hill which has since borne his 
name, and from thence witnessed the successive checks given to 
the Federals in their desperate efforts to get possession of the 
heights where he was. Shortly after nine o'clock the fog cleared, 
Franklin's columns advanced in the plain against Hamilton's 
Crossing. Arrested a moment by the raking fire directed on them 
by Stuart's mounted artillery, those in the front retreated, when 
Franklin opened a fire from all his batteries. The Confederate 
line made no reply. Emboldened by this silence, the Federal 
infantry, ro,ooo strong, (according to General Meade, who com- 
manded it,) advanced against the hostile position, defended at this 
point by 14 guns under Colonel Walker, and supported by two 
brigades of infantry. The Confederates let them approach to 
within less, than 800 yards. But there a shower of grape-shot 
threw them into disorder. 

About one o'clock Franklin made his chief attack ; with three ■ 
lines of infantry in close order he vigorously assailed A. P. Hill's 
position at Hamilton's Crossing ; the fire of the Confederate 
cannon could not arrest the impetuosity of the Federals, who were 
n hand-to-hand conflict with the Southern infantry. Profit- 
ing by a gap between two of the hostile brigades, the Federal 
leneral Meade made two divisions charge by this opening, and 
1 back Jackson's front line on the second. At this critical 
mcture Jackson, with the .three divisions of Early, Trimble, 
ind Tagliaferro, from his second line of defence, rushed in front 


of the Federals, and the latter, being taken in front and flank, 
were thrown back beyond the railway and pursued into the plain. 
General Early pressed them very hard, not giving over the pursuit 
till he found himself under the fire of the Federal batteries. 
Franklin did not again seek to cut the Confederate line ; he was 
content with throwing some shells, while his outposts did some 
skirmishing during the afternoon. It was while beholding the quick 
retreat of the Federals, pursued by his soldiers, and the aspect of 
the ground, strewn with dead and dying, that Lee, posted on the 
hill whence he had directed the action, murmured in a low tone : 
" It is well this is so terrible ; we would grow too fond of it." 

While what we have been describing was passing on the Con- 
federate right, General Sumner was exerting himself to accomplish 
the task which had fallen to his lot. At eleven o'clock, forming 
his columns under the protection of the houses of Fredericksburg, 
he hurled the divisions of French and Hancock on Marye*s Hill 
and Willis's Hill. The assault was repulsed, and his soldiers, 
decimated by a terrible fire, were finally obliged to take shelter in 
the houses. One half of the men remained on the battle-field. In 
fifteen minutes Hancock lost more than 2000 men out of 5000. 
Although exposed to the fire of the Federal batteries on the other 
side of the river, the Confederate artiller3nnen did not cease to 
concentrate all their efforts on the hostile infantry as long as the 
struggle lasted. Sumner renewed his attack with the divisions of 
Howard, Sturgis, and Getty. Thrown back in disorder by the 
crushing fire of Longstreet, these divisions were replaced by the 
Federal reserve, consisting of three divisions. General Hooker, 
who was at their head, received orders to capture the heights, no 
matter at what cost Six times the Northern infantry threw itself 
valiantly on the Confederate positions, and six times was hurled 
back again, its ranks ploughed by grapeshot Some of the dead 
were found within pistol-shot of the enemy's line. The last assault 
took place a little before night These successive defeats had put 
General Bumside in a state of despair and excitement impossible 





Tbe. He walked backwards and forwards, exclaiming from 
le to time : "These heights must be ours this evening." 
At night the battle ceased. All the Federal army, upwards of 
100,000 men, had taken part in it, while, on the Confederate side, 
25,000 men alone had been engaged, the rest remaining simple 
spectators. la his report, General Lee estimated his losses at 
dead and wounded. The Federals owned to a loss of 
[ killed, wounded, or prisoners. The Southern commander- 
in-chief announced his success to his Government in these words: 

" December I3tli, 

" To General Cooper, A. A G. 

"At nine' o'clock this morning the eneroy attacked our 
"right wing, and as the fog lifted, the battie ran along the whole 
Kne, from right to left, until six, p.m., the enemy being repulsed at 
all points. Thanks be to God ! As usual, we have to mourn the 
loss of many of our brave men. I expect the battle to be renewed 
at daylight to-morrow morning, 

" R, E, Lee." 

During the night tbe Confederate army raised some earthworks 
X'^ the most exposed points, and occupied itself in rendering its 
position more formidable. The enemy's attack had been so easily 
repulsed, and with such a weak portion of the forces, that General 
Lee was persuaded the battle would be renewed on the morrow. 
At daybreak, on the 14th, all his troops were under arms, ready to 
resist the anticipated attack. 

Lee's conduct in this instance has been severely criticised. He 
has been blamed for not having followed Jackson's advice, who 
wished him to attack Burnside on the night of the 13th. To reason 
after the event is very easy. Lee was naturally ignorant of the 
Northern army had undergone, and had no wish to 
expose his soldiers uselessly to the fire of 200 pieces of cannon, 
ranged on the Stafford Heights. It must be never lost sight of 
the South repaired its losses with great difficulty, and thai 


behind this army there was no other to take its place. Waiting, 
therefore, to be attacked, Lee did not desire to renounce the 
advantages of his position by issuing from his lines and advancing 
into the plain. 

He did not possess the war-material and means of transport 
which his adversary had. Numerically inferior, with troops badly 
fed, he judged that to make a night attack on an enemy, beaten, it 
is true, but not demoralized, would be the height of imprudence. 
He did not know the situation of the Northern army, nor what 
impression the defeat it had just experienced had made on it. 

As to General Bumside, his duty was clear : he ought without 
delay to have placed the Rappahannock between himself and his 
foe. Far from that, however, he conceived the foolish idea of 
putting himself at the head of the 9th corps, which he had formerly 
commanded as division-general, and leading it to assault the 
Confederate position on Marye's Hill. But on the urgent advice 
of all his generals he abandoned his design at the last moment, 
when orders had been already issued, and the attacking columns 

During the whole of the 14th, the Northern batteries on the 
north bank of the river at intervals directed their fire on the 
Southern line. The 15 th passed similarly without the Federal 
army making any other hostile demonstration. That night a 
tempest of wind and torrents of rain burst over the country, and 
Bumside profited by it to recross the river, abandoning the town, 
and carrying off his bridges. On the morning of the 16th, the 
Confederates learnt the Federal retreat. But Lee, still convinced 
the battle would be renewed, telegraphed to Richmond : 

" Head-quarters, near Fredericksburg. 
** i6th December, 1862. 

" As far as can be known on a morning so stormy, the enemy 
has disappeared from our front, and recrossed the Rappahannock. 
I think he intends to make his appearance at some other point 

" R. E. Lee." 

^^^ cai 


' Cc 


^^^ aim 


the Federal general gave no sign of life, and the .battle oi 
Fredericksburg finished the campaign. 

As soon as he became certain that General Bumside had given 
htp all thought of continumg hostilities, Lee led his army into 
ter-quarters ; it was cantoned along the Rappahannock, from 
Fredericksburg to Port RoyaL Some troops were detached to 
watch the ford higher up the river. The cold soon became 
severe, and the soldiers were glad to shelter themselves in their 
huts and tents. On the last day of the year, the general-in-chief 
addressed a proclamation to the Northern Virginian army. After 
recapitulating the events of the campaign which had just terminated 
so gloriously, he thanked them for their magnificent conduct, and 
expressed his confidence in the final triumph of the Southern 
cause, thanks to the visible protection of the Almighty, a protection 
ir which he showed himself humbly grateful. 

The winter was felt acutely. In the middle of December 
several Federal sentries were found frozen at their post. The 
Confederate troops, badly clothed and badly furnished, suffered 
even more than their adversaries from this exceptional temperature. 
'General Lee, about the ist of December, addressed a report to 
war minister, asserting that several thousands of his soldiers 

:e bare-foot 

The general himself shared the lot of his soldiers. He 

istantjy refused to establish his head-quarters in a house, 
Wen in the depth of winter j he slept under a tent, like 
die commonest of his men. This self-denial on the part 
of their chief produced its effect, and nobody was heard to 

Thus ended the memorable year of 1S62. During its whole 

continuance, in a succession of campaigns following each other 

without interruption, Lee had directed the movements of 

the principal Southern army. It was to his military talents, quick- 

«ghtedness and skill, that the brilliant successes were due which 

luminated the Confederate cause, and acquired to the Separatist 


chief a reputation of the first order, which following campaigns 
only contributed to increase. 

A rapid recapitulation of the events of the year that had flowed 
away will put the services rendered by Lee in a better light. 

Four Federal armies had been charged to invade Virginia and 
meet at Richmond, that being the head and heart of the rebellion. 
The most numerous and formidable of these armies, that of 
MacClellan, had arrived in sight of the Confederate capital when 
Lee assumed the command. The Southern chief marched against 
this army of 150,000 men, and pushed it back 30 miles from 
the city, rendering it impossible for it to renew its attack on 
Richmond. Meanwhile a new army advanced from the North. 
Lee was watching MacClellan when the news of this new danger 
came to him. Leaving a sufficient force to hold his adversary in 
check, he marched rapidly to the place where, henceforth, the 
real danger was, drove General Pope before him, took him on 
the flank, and lastly, in the sanguinary battle of Manassas, put 
his army to the rout, and forced him within his lines at 

Thus two armies, in the short space of five months, had been 
driven from Virginian soil. Then the Confederate commander 
entered Maryland, in order to attract the enemy thither, and, if 
possible, to transport the scene of war into Pennsylvania. Events 
which could not be foreseen had prevented the realization of the 
second part of this programme. Lee was obliged to concentrate 
his forces at Sharpsburg, and there deliver one of the most hotly 
contested of all the battles. Without undergoing a defeat, he 
was obliged to abandon the idea of entering Pennsylvania, and 
recrossing into Virginia, still continued to face his enemy. This 
was the first check Lee had experienced in the campaigns of that 
year. It is only to weigh the circumstances attentively, and he 
will not be considered responsible for what happened. Accidents 
over which he was powerless set his combinations at nought, and 
compelled him to give way. An impartial judge might even think 



lat his having withdrawn his soldiers safe and sound out of so 1 
Iperilous a predicament, was a greater proof of ability than the I 
gaining of the battle of Manassas. The relief felt in the North, 
on learning that he had recrossed the Potomac, is the proper 
measure of the consternation he had spread among the Federals. 

A little later, during MacClellan's offensive movement on 
Warrenton, the arrangements of the Confederate commander to 
delay the Federal march deserve our attention. With very inferior 
forces he much embarrassed his adversary, fronting him on the 
upper Rappahannock, cleverly stopping his offensive attempt in 
that direction, and then, when the Federal array marched rapidly 
on Fredericksburg, quick as lightning, he crossed the Rapidan, 
and appeared on the heights commanding the town, thus blocking 
the passage of the river. The battle which followed went far to 
■indemnify the South for the failure of the Maryland campaign 
and the indecisive batde of Sharpsburg. The Federal army 
experienced a complete defeat. This stormy year, so full of 
great events and bloody encounters, was finished by a batde itt j 
which the enemy was repulsed with frightful loss. I 

In less than six months Lee had fought four pitched battles, — 
all victories except Sharpsburg. This result was promising for 
the future of the Southern cause. Had the army of Northern 
Virginia had its ranks renewed like those of the Northern army, 
the successes of the year r862 would have led subsequendy to the 
triumph of the Southern cause. Unfortunately, Lee's army, which 
had to sustain the conflicts up to a point where the result would 
of necessity decide the issue of the whole war, never had a 
numerical force sufficient to allow it to draw the whole advantage 
from its victories. In the battles on the Chickahoininy, the army 
reckoned, at the most, 7S,ooo men; at the second battle of 

Manassas, nearly 50,000 men; at Sharpsburg, less than 40,000 ^^J 

men; and at Fredericksburg, about 50,000 men. The followii^ ^^^H 

r year, the number of his soldiers scarcely rose above the figures ^^^| 


month of April, 1865, all the forces 0$ which he had the disposal 
at Petersburg hardly exceeded 30,000 men. 

The enemy, however, had wherewith to oppose him on the 
Chickahominy, 150,000 men, of whom 115,000 were efficients; 
100,000 under Pope, at the second battle of Manassas; 87,000 
actually in line at Sharpsburg; and at Fredericksburg, from 110,000 
to 120,000. 

Certainly, therefore, it could only be to the great superiority of 
their commander's military genius that the triumphs of the Con- 
federates were due. But little known beyond the ranks of the 
old United States' army at the moment when he assumed the 
command in June, 1862, Lee, before the end of the year, acquired 
a great reputation. From the first he conciliated the confidence 
and respect of all. Everybody rendered justice to the elevation 
of his character, to his perfect sincerity and entire disinterestedness 
in the accomplishment of his duty. Without the least personal 
ambition, he was devoted, body and soul, to the cause for which 
he fought. Although nobody, either in the army or in the country, 
had ever penetrated his true character, although he was supposed 
to have more reserve and less warmth and dash than he really 
possessed, he finished by winning the admiration even of those 
who were angry at his supposed hesitation in April, 1862, and 
who then had criticised his strategic operations ; they in the end 
recognized in him a great man, and a military genius of the 
highest order. 

All classes in the South beheld with pride the dignity of their 
cause nobly represented in the person and character of the com- 
mander of their most important army. While so many others in 
the Separatist ranks, as brave, as patriotic as Lee, but of a 
different temperament, allowed themselves to indulge in violent 
language against the North, he remained calm and moderate, in 
spite of all provocations. His reports are without emphasis, 
without exaggeration, his language always modest. The day after 
his most brilliant successes, he rendered an account of his victories 



r fo. 





'isith a tone of such moderation, that in reading them at this 
distance of time, it appears almost impossible he could have 
■written them in the burning atmosphere of a war which displayed 
. tiie niost ardent passions of the human heart. I 

This was a very remarkable side of his character. Perhaps this 
moderation and this elevated sense of justice are answerable 
for the general idea, widely spread, that Lee was cold and unim- 
pressionable. On the contrary, nobody more than he had a heart 
susceptible of emotion, nor experienced a more profound indigna- 
lon at seeing the South invaded. But he knew how to control 
jhimsel^ and was never drawn beyond what was compatible with 
dignity of the supreme mili tary commander of a people 
.Struggling for its independence. 

The South had come to regard Lee in his private and public 
character with an admiration that soon knew no bounds, and there 
was placed in him, as general, the most absolute confidence, a con- 
fidence never withdrawn, even in the hour of the greatest disasters. 
The army first set an example of blindly trusting to him ; it saw 
fliim always at work, and in each of the terrible blows which he 
struck at the enemy, his brave soldiers had a further proof that their 
Confidence was justified. The extreme care which he took on 
every occasion not to expose them without necessity, (especially 
at Fredericksburg, where an ambitious commander would not ' 
have hesitated to shed torrents of blood to complete his triumph,) 
singularly contributed to increase their affection. 

In spite of the reserved air which seldom left him, Lee received 
with kindness the humblest of his soldiers. Naturally very simple 
in his manners, and kind, endued with great sweetness and much 
patience, he made no difference in his fashion of receiving those 
of all ranks who came to him. He often used to say that the 1 
common soldiers, who fought without being enticed by the allure- ' 
ment of rank, pay, or glory, but only from a sense of duty and love 
of country, were the most deserving class in the army, and had 'j 
right to the utmost consideration and best treatment. 


This extreme simplicity of life and manners rendered him 
peculiarly dear to the troops. 

Let us narrate one example from among a thousand. Once Lee 
had fallen asleep beneath a tree, on the roadside, over which 
15,000 Confederates were defihng. On learning that their chief 
was tasting a repose of which he had so much need, there was the 
most absolute silence suddenly in their ranks, and the entire corps 
was able to pass without waking him. 

The inside of his tent, which he would never leave for the 
shelter of a house, although often entreated to do so, afforded no 
object of luxury. The covering of the commander-in-chief was 
the same as that of the soldier, and his food often inferior to that 
of the majority of his officers and men. 

Everywhere he was presented with dainties, cases packed with 
turkeys, hams, wines, spirits, and other things very tempting in the 
rough life of a soldier : he sent them nearly always to the sick and 

His guiding principle was that of setting his officers an example 
of not faring better than their soldiers. 

For the rest, to he hard, to eat Httle, and that little of poor 
quahty, to drink only water, were not to him privations. It was 
the life he had led for years on the frontiers of Texas and Mexico. 
He liked neither wine nor spirits, and made no use of tobacco 
under any form ; very rarely did he allow himself a moment's re- 
laxation. When not traversing his camp to note that the soldiers 
were not in want of anything, or when not inspecting the outposts, 
his time was spent in his tent at work, going through reports, cor- 
responding with the authorities, at Richmond, and occupying him- 
self about all that touched the well-being of the army under his 

Sometimes, also, if in the neighbourhood of country houses, he 
would pay a visit to the ladies there, and caress the children, thus 
revealing an unexpected side of his character. His goodness, 
sweetness, and affectionate smile, singularly attracted children, and 




inspired them with a touching confidence. One day a little girl, in 
the neighbourhood of Fredericksburg, confided to him as to her best 
friend, trembhng all the while, that she would like to kiss General 
Jackson, The brave Stonewall blushed like a young girl, when 
Lee, with a mischievous sratle, told him of the child's wish. In 
such moments Lee was charming. The pleasure he felt was true 
and unalloyed ; he forgot himself, and one found it difficult to 
beheve that this officer, in a simple grey uniform, so affectionate 
and childlike, was the commander-in-chief of the Confederate army. 

But these moments were rare. Hard work, incessant pre-occu- 
patlon, took again possession of him. With the exception of such 
occasions as these aheady cited, he permitted himself no distrac- 
tion. Indeed, he recalled, in an extraordinary manner, the tradi- 
tional idea which we have of General Washington. What tended 
to the fulfilment of his duties alone had the power to influence this 
noble soul ; he gave himself up entirely Co the incessant labour 
which the cares of governing a great army brought with them, and 
that, too, with grave and systematic self-denial. 

But, in fine, the most beautiful and interesting feature of his 
character, was his humble and profound piety. Generally in this 
respect justice has not been done him. At the time of the war, 
indeed, he passed for a sincere Christian ; his noble character and 
the purity of his morals left no opening for criticism ; but this once 
recognized, no eye had sounded the depth of his feelings with 
regard to the most august, the grandest, the most terrible subject 
that has been given to man to meditate on. Nevertheless it was 
faith in Divine Providence alone, and trust in the support of the 
Almighty which guided and sustained him so marvellously in hours 
of triaL Here was the secret of his unalterable calm in the midst 
of disasters. His slight effusion, his extreme reserve, explain the 
difficulty there has been in estimating his religious feehngs. The 
depth of his soul would only display itself by a flash, as when he 
learnt that the army chaplains were praying for him : " I thank 
you sincerely," said he, with tears in his eyes; "all I can say 


is that I am a poor sinner, having faith in Christ alone, and that I 
have great need of all your prayers." 

He expressed himself in like manner one day in an interview 
with several members of the clergy, who had met to discuss with 
him the subject of measures to be taken to cause]the sanctity of the 
Sabbath to be better observed in the army. " His eye brightened, 
and all his countenance sparkled with joy," said one of his inter- 
locutors, " when we conversed with him on this subject" 

On the morrow, an urgent order of the day called the particular 
attention of officers and soldiers to the respect due to the sacred 
day, recommending them to assist at divine service in their respec- 
tive camps, and forbidding on that day all official work and duty, 
except what was necessary in reference to the nourishment or 
safety of the army. He himself never failed to attend a reli^ 
gious service when he found it possible. Very often he took part 
in the meetings of his chaplains, and interested himself much in all 
that could contribute to spread religious ideas among his soldiers. 
He never let an opportunity escape of showing pubUcly to his men 
that he was a sincere Christian. On one occasion, when General 
Meade had come to Mine Run, and the Southern army was march- 
ing to meet him, Lee, riding on horseback in front of his army 
through the woods, found on his road a group of soldiers assembled 
to pray before entering into battle. Such was the custom among 
certain sects, and the most eager to fight were often men of great 
piety. But this time, this spectacle, although sufficiently frequent, 
appeared to move Lee profoundly. He stopped, dismounted, — ^his 
staff did the same, — uncovered his head, and stood respectfully 
attentive as long as the impassioned and moving prayer lasted, a 
prayer accompanied by the growUng of the enemy's cannon, and 
the bursting of their shells. 

We find, dated November 24th, 1862, a letter from him, in which 
his religious sentiments are clearly shown. 

^ " .... The death of my dear A , (one of his daughters 

who had just died far from him,) was indeed to me a bitter pang. 


But the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away : blessed be the 
name of the Lord. ■ In the quiet hours of night, when there is 
nothing to Ughten the full weight of my grief, I feel as if I should 
be overwhelmed. I had always counted, if God should spare me 
a few days of peace after this cruel war was ended, that I should 
have her with me. But year after year my hopes go out, and I 
must be resigned." 

One of Lee*s first cares, during the enforced rest of winter, 
was to give his artillery a better organization, to partly replace his 
batteries by others taken from the enemy, and to get the Con- 
federate Government to recast a great number of guns. Thanks to 
these measures, the Southern army, in the spring of 1863, was 
better provided with artillery than it had ever been. 

In the course of January, 1863, Burnside, burning to take his 
revenge, conceived the plan of crossing the Rappahannock above 
Fredericksburg, and turning the Confederate right wing, thus 
obliging Lee to abandon his line of defence, or see himself cut off 
from Richmond. The weather was beautifully dry, and everything 
at the beginning went well. The grand secret was jealously kept. 
On the 20th, the whole army was ranged at different points on tlie 
north bank, ready to cross the river. During the night the 
pontoons were to be fixed. But a frightful tempest happened 
shortly before nightfall ; torrents of rain caused a considerable rise, 
and the clayey soil, sodden by the water, reduced the general's 
plans to nothing. Lee's vigilance had not blundered. Notwith- 
standing the strife of the elements, the Confederate general had 
massed his troops opposite the points of passage. On the Federal 
side the roads were in a most deplorable state ; the pontoons, 
buried in the mud, resisted all efforts to move them. All day, on 
the 24th, and the night following, the tempest and rain continued 
without ceasing. A chaos of pontoons, carriages, ammunition 
waggons, and guns, impossible to describe, encumbered all the 
roads : tumbrils upset, pieces of cannon stuck in the mud, trains 
of war-material engulfed in a sewer, thousands of horses and mules 



immersed in yellow masses of slush — such was the spectacle 
offered to the view on all sides. There was no further thought of an 
advance — it was necessary to consider how best to get out of this 
plight. The three days' rations, brought by the soldiers, were ex- 
hausted ; there was no means of bringing up supplies of victuals. 
The whole army was compelled to be occupied in remedying the 
roads, thus, they cut down trees, and laid them symmetrically across 
the roads, so as to create a solid bottom, one which did not sink. 
Thanks to these efforts, next day, most of the army could gradually 
re-enter their cantonments. Such are some of the difficulties on 
which an army must reckon in a winter-season in Virginia. 

If, however, the Federal general had succeeded in crossing the 
river, Lee was ready to receive him, and, as he sent word to Rich- 
mond : " Nothing was more fortunate for the Federals than not 
to cross the Rappahannock." Shortly after, Burnside sent in his 
resignation. He was replaced by one of the most distinguished of 
his division generals — Hooker. 

The Confederate soldiers had sometimes to suffer this winter 
from scarcity of provisions. The country was little prepared for a 
war of so long duration, and those who were charged with provid- 
ing for the wants of the army were not always able to fulfil 
satisfactorily their arduous and complicated duties. 

Another subject which gave much cause for anxious reflection to 
the Confederate general-in-chief, was that of recruitment. The 
population bent with difficulty to this new law, so full of antipathy 
to the American nature. General Lee proposed to the Govern- 
ment to make the governors of each state responsible for a certain 
number of soldiers ; the conscription would thus have been worked 
through the local authorities, and perhaps by that means' would 
have ceased to be odious. 

But the Richmond Cabinet did not judge it advisable to give 
effect to this proposition, and no change was mad^ in the method 
of enlistment. 

Nothing was done for some time, except that Longstreet's corps 


was detached in Febraary, and sent to the south of the James to 
oppose the attempts at revictualHng there made by the enemy 
along the coasts and in the most exposed counties of Southern 
Virginia and North Carohna. 

Lee took all precautions against the enemy's passing the 
Rappahannock. All the fords were guarded. His army was so 
disposed that it could easily be concentrated, if necessary, on a 
given point Earthworks and redoubts were raised in places 
most easily accessible to the enemy, and the time was passed in 
watching the spots most in danger, and in getting ready to repulse 
the first offensive movement of which the spring would necessarily 
be the signal. 

o 2 




Burnside's defeat, and his unfortunate efforts to cross the Rappa- 
hannock, exasperated the people of the North to the last degree, 
but only rendered them more than ever determined to push on 
the war with vigour till final triumph was assured. In order to 
make a diversion, and excite troubles in the interior of the 
Confederacy, which, for their suppression would necessitate the 
employment of troops detached from the army. President Lincoln, 
on January ist, 1863, published a proclamation in which he 
declared all the slaves of the South free. But it did not produce 
the effect expected ; the blacks did not stir. 

As General Hooker had severely criticised his two predecessors, 
MacClellan and Bumside, the country expected him to prove his 
superiority over them, and justify the choice the President had 
just made. So the new Federal commander put himself to work 
and tried at first to restore the confidence of the army of the 
Potomac, so much disturbed. His first care was, by severe 
measures, to stop the desertions which for some time had been 
very frequent He reorganized his army, and particularly applied 
himself to combine the cavalry, which hitherto had been dispersed 
among the different divisions of the army, into a single corps ; 
this would permit it to act with greater unity and vigour. From 
this time the Federal cavalry, being better mounted and better 


equipped, rendered the greatest services, while the Southern cavalry, 
exhausted by fatigues, and having no further facilities for remount- 
ing, owing to the impoverishment of the country, no longer 

contended with advantage against its enemy, possessing, as the 
latter did, all that was wanting to the Confederates. The 
Northern Government refused Hooker nothing ; it was but for him 
to ask and have ; thus, at the approach of spring, he was at the 
he^d of an army of 120,000 men (infantry and artillery), with a 
corps of 12,000 cavalry, perfectly equipped, and 400 guns. This 
fine army, divided into seven corps, inspired such confidence in 
its commander, that he looked upon the destruction of Lee's army 
as certain. 

On the 1 6th of March, General Averill for the Federals recon- 
noitred in force ; with six regiments of cavalry and a battery of 
artillery he started in the direction of Gordonsville. A telegram 
from Lee warned Stuart to watch the fords of the upper Rappa- 
hannock. In spite of this, however, on the morning of the 17 th 
Averill surprised the Confederate sentries, crossed briskly, and 
continuing his road, was suddenly arrested by Fitz-Lee's cavalry 
brigade. A long and eager conflict lasted all the afternoon, nor 
did the Federals retire till they had themselves sustained, and 
inflicted on the Confederates, heavy loss. A period of repose 
followed this alarm. It was not till the middle of April that the 
roads appeared dry and hard enough for military operations. 

The Southern army, not having at its disposal the millions of 
the North, and the inexhaustible resources of America and Europe, 
was far from presenting a flourishing aspect. Lee had been 
compelled, at the urgent direction of the Richmond Government, 
to detach from his army 24,000 men under Longstreet, and send 
them to the south of the James River, which reduced the forces 
at his disposal on the Rappahannock to 47,000 men. Hooker, 
perfectly aware of the great numerical inferiority of his adversary 
(he himself had just three times as many soldiers as Lee), wished 
to attack before the reinforcements, urgently asked for by Lee, 


could arrive. During the month of April, the Federal cavalry often 
sought to penetrate through the Confederate lines, and get informa- 
tion about the forces of the enemy, and the positions they occupied, 
but at each ford Stuart's cavalry was found ready to receive it." ' 

Tired of this, Hooker conceived the plan of crossing the 
Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, twenty-seven miles above 
Fredericksburg, and marching thence on Chancellorsville, which 
he hoped to occupy before Lee could concentrate his forces. 
Thanks to this turning movement, he counted on taking Lee on 
the flank, and forcing him either to accept battle or retire on 
Richmond. In order to mask this operation. General Sedgwick 
was, at the head of 22,000 men, to cross the river below the town, 
and so deceive the Confederates, making them believe that 
Hooker intended to attack the heights of Fredericksburg. 10,000 
cavalry were to precede the Federal army, and cut off all the 
railways which connected the Southern camp with Richmond. On 
the 27 th of April, the Union army began to march. On the night 
of the 28th, the river was crossed at Kelly's Ford, and the Con- 
federate sentries dispersed. On the evening of the 2 9th, the Northern 
army crossed the Rapidan likewise. 

General Sedgwick, on his part, crossed the Rappahannock on 
the 29th at daybreak, on three bridges, three miles below 
Fredericksburg. During the 29th and- 30th, he made several 
demonstrations, as if he had the intention of assaulting the 
Confederate position. 

Hooker's plan was skilfully conceived and skilfully executed. 
Still there was room for criticism. The Northern chief divided his 
army in two, and sent all his cavalry to a distance, in the face 
of an adversary who was the man to profit by this blunder. The 
result proved it. 

For Lee was not taken in by the ruse. Convinced that his 
right, thanks to its position, was sheltered from every attempt, 
he expected an attack on his left He had, therefore, placed 
for observation nearly 8000 of the troops under General Anderson, 



^V TiU 

without reckoning Stuart's cavalry, aU along the river, enjoining 
on thena the strictest vigilance. On the jgth, he learnt the 
crossing of the Rappahannock by the Federal array. On the 
30th, Hooker was at Chancellorsville. General Anderson had at 
first retired before the enemy's superior forces to Chancellorsville, 
and then to Tabernacle Church, where he found Wright's brigade, 
which Lee had sent to him. Before coming to a final resolution, 
tJie Confederate commander wished to assure himself that 
Sedgwick's movement was not serious, and leave Hooker's plan 
lime to develop Hself. 

On the evening of the 30th, he learnt that Sedgwick was 
positively sending a part of his forces to Hooker, and, therefore, 
that the chief eifort of the enemy would be directed against his 
left. General Jackson consequently received an order to join 
Anderson immediately. Early's division alone remained to keep 
Sedgwick in check, should the latter decide on taking the offensive. 
Starting at midnight, Jackson, the next day. the 1st of May, 
arrived, at nine o'clock, at Tabernacle Church, a mere isolated 
church in the heart of the district. 

Hooker perceived everything succeeding according to his wish, 
and already exclaimed to those about him : " The army of the 
insurgents is ours ; its destruction is certain 1" Hitherto he had 
manceuvred well, and his numerical crushing superiority justified 
his hopes. 

Chancellorsville, five miles beyond and to the west of Tabernacle 
Church, and ten miles to the south-west of Fredericksburg, is a 
large square house, built of brick, with various outbuildings. It is 
an inn, situated in a four-cross way. The country, somewhat flat, 
is everywhere covered by thick brushwood, dwarf pines, and 
stunted oaks. In many places the ground sinks, — it is marshy. 
The road from the north, which comes from Ely's Ford and 
United States Ford, the two fords by which the Federal army had 
crossed, and which are but a few miles apart, leads to Chancellors- 
ville through this dismal and uninhabited district, known under 


the name of the Wilderness. The Orange Court House road 
comes from the west, and here joins the road, which, towards the 
east, communicates with Fredericksburg. All this country, the 
roads, the dwellings sparsely scattered, the silence, the interminable 
brushwood, produce, in this horrible desert, a dreary effect. Every- 
thing is wild, sombre, desolate. For miles and miles there is 
nothing but an uninterrupted course of woods, of stunted oaks ; 
here and there a road, where one meets nobody. It was mad- 
ness to fight a battle there. . The hostile armies were not visible 
to each other. As to cannon, it could not be manoeuvred, the 
cavalry could not deploy, even foot-soldiers could hardly thread 
their way through the woods. That an army of 120,000 men 
should have chosen such a place to fight another of 40,000 
in, still appears the height of absurdity. 

It is, however, to be said in the Federal general's favour, that 
the idep. of allowing himself to be shut up in this horribly im- 
practicable country, where all hope of manoeuvring so great an 
army was forbidden him, did not proceed from him. It was Lee 
who made choice of the Wilderness about Chancellorsville as the 
field of battle. Hooker, indeed, tried nOt to be thus enclosed by 
woods. Driving before him the feeble Confederate columns 
which had opposed his passage, and pursuing them in the direc- 
tion of Fredericksburg, he emerged into the plain, and hastened 
to form up his troops in order of battle on a spot very favourable 
to the development of a numerous army. His left — the wing 
nearest the river — commanded all the fords, even that of Banks, 
and was five miles in front of Chancellorsville, thus shortening, 
by one half, the road which Sedgwick would have to travel in 
order to rejoin him at Fredericksburg. His centre and right 
likewise were out of the woods in the open country. 

Thus passed the ist of May, 1863. Hooker had in front of 
him only Anderson's 8000 men. Nothing, therefore, hindered 
him from massing his entire army in the advantageous positions 
formed by an elevation of ground, sufficiently high, at the point 


where he had arrived. Once master of this position, it would 
be easy for the Federal chief to emerge into the plain behind 
Fredericksburg. A pretty good road connected these heights of 
Banks Ford with the Rappahannock. It was of the last im- 
portance for the Federals to cover it, and maintain themselves there, 
for it was the most direct line of communication with their base. 

Lee was persuaded that Hooker, without stopping at Chan- 
cellorsville, would get hold of this position, and not leave his 
army in the Wilderness, where it could not deploy, while, if he 
mastered this position, he commanded all the country round, and 
secured his communications with Sedgwick. 

Jackson had received orders, on quitting his chief, as soon as 
he had joined Anderson to attack the enemy and drive him back. 
Notwithstanding Anderson's obstinate defence, in seeking to 
defend these heights with the feeble forces at his disposal. Hooker, 
on the morning of the ist of May, when Jackson appeared on the 
ground, had already got possession of them. The arrival of the 
latter saved everything. He marched four brigades to Anderson's 
aid, and Hooker, who should have defended this line at any cost, 
beat a retreat, withdrawing to the side of Chancellorsville, and 
strongly intrenching himself in expectation of a Confederate attack. 
Jackson pressed on after the Federals, and did not give over the 
pursuit till the enemy had recoiled quite back to Chancellorsville. 
Not wishing to expose himself single-handed to the whole hostile 
army, he awaited the coming of Lee, who, the same evening, 
appeared on the ground with two divisions. 

The Federal general at Chancellorsville had ranged his army 
nearly parallel with the road from Orange Court House, which 
goes east and west. His centre was at Chancellorsville, at the 
point where the road coming from Fredericksburg, and going to 
United States Ford, on the Rappahannock, intersects the Orange 
Court House Road. Around Chancellorsville there was a small 
plain without timber, about three hundred yards broad, then right 
and left the brushwood of the Wilderness recommenced. The 


Federal left was posted a little behind, towards the river, and the 
right, also in the Wilderness, extended towards Orange County, 
two-and-a-half miles west of Chancellorsville. The river covered 
the left wing, but the right was without support To fortify it. 
Hooker constructed strong earth intrenchments, rendered still 
more inaccessible by parapets and trunks of trees, heaped up over 
the whole length of the line. His centre was very strong ; the 
right was the feeble point. General Howard commanded there. 
The corps of Generals Slocum and Sickles were in the centre, and 
the left obeyed General Meade. Hooker's army reckoned nearly 
100,000 fighting men, and 200 pieces of artillery. It was at the 
head of such an army that he concentrated himself to receive the 
attack of 40,000 Confederates. He had counted that Lee would 
retreat on Richmond. The boldness of the Southern chief in 
accepting battle seemed to have paralysed Hooker. 

The Federal position had been recoimoitred by Jackson before 
Lee's arrival. There could be no doubt in the mind of the latter 
as to what he should do. The thing was with 35,000 men to 
thrust 100,000 back to the other side of the Rappahannock. On 
pain of being crushed, if the two Federal armies, that of Hooker 
in front and Sedgwick behind, united, it must be done, and done 
immediately. Lee had at Chancellorsville only 40,000 men, and 
the heights of Fredericksburg were defended by only 6000 under 
General Early, while Hooker disposed of more than 90,000 
combatants, and General Sedgwick had before Fredericksburg 
from 28,000 to 30,000.. If the latter drove Early from*his, positions, 
he could, at his leisure, fall on Lee's rear, while Hooker attacked 
him in front. 

Now note the plan proposed by Jackson and agreed to by Lee. 
The two divisions of MacLaws and Anderson, under the general- 
in-chief, were to amuse Hooker by feints, and make Jiim believe 
the Confederates were thinking of attacking him in front. Aiean- 
while, Jackson, turning the Federal right wing, was to march on 
the centre, taking the hostile line in the rear, and so cut oflf 


Hooker's line of retreat on United States Ford. The plan was 
bold and brilliant, worthy at once of the general who conceived 
and of him wlio approved it 

On the morning of the and of May, Lee, who had kept only 
13,000 men with him, began to disturb his adversary, sometimes 
attacking General Crouch's corps on the left, sometimes Slocum in 
the centre, and gradually extending his attacks from left to right, 
completely deceiving Hooker, who remained convinced that Lee 
was going to do exactly what he desired — attack the formidable 
army in front. Perfectly calm in this supreme moment, Lee 
waited for the noise of Jackson's cannon to announce the success 
of his turning movement 

The same day, early, General Jackson began his march with 
his 22,000 veterans. At a certain distance from Chancellorsville, 
leaving the road, he took the direction of the Foundry, lying 
nearly two miles to the south-west Here he left the zjrd regimeot 
of Georgia as scouts, to watch the road from ChaDcellorsviUe, and 
continued his march. He could not manage it secretly enough 
to keep it from an enemy holding such elevated positions. 
Genera] Sickles, advancing with two divisions to reconnoitre, 
captured the regiment left for purposes of observation. But, 
having seen the rest of the column defile in what they thought to 
be the direction of Richmond, die Federals remained persuaded 
that the enemy was retiring on the capital. Ati attack on Jack- 
son's train was repulsed. The troops continued to defile into the 
woods, through a thousand obstacles which delayed their march, 
so uneven and woody was the country, while the narrow foot-paths 
were ili-adapted for the passage of artillery. At length, arrived at 
a certain point. General Fitz-Lee pointed out to Jackson a hillock, 
I whence there was a view embracing the whole of the Federal 
\ position. Having reconnoitred the hostile lines, Jackson con- 
f ducted his columns in such a manner as to find himself on the 
r of the Federal intrenchments. At four o'clock, p.m., the 
I movement had succeeded, and he made all his preparations for - 


an immediate attack. His intention was to envelope the Federal 
right wing, drive it back on the centre at Chancellorsville, and 
establish himself 6n the road from United States Ford. To 
realise this plan, it was necessary to plunge again into the 
thickest of the Wilderness brushwood, where it was impossible to 
form in column. But this prospect had in it nothing formidable 
for soldiers like his. 

When the foremost Confederate companies, imder General 
Rodes, issued from the woods and charged the Federal encamp- 
ments, the consternation of the Unionist troops just left ^ them 
time to flee. They were occupied in preparing their supper. 
Colston's Confederate brigade followed Rodes's, and, with it, took 
the Federal intrenchments. At this moment Jackson's artillery / 
opened fire : division after division took flight, till it came to this, 
that all the nth Unionist corps was in complete disorder. 
Jackson was himself at the head of his troops. He seemed 
carried away with excitement. Leaning forward on his horse, he| 
pointed with his finger to the Federal lines, as if to urge on hirf^ 
men, exclaiming every moment, " Forward ! forward 1" WheA 

the fever of the combat did not master him, he lifted his anjai 


straight towards heaven, with that gesture become so familiar . 
to his soldiers, as if he were praying the God of battles to give 
him victory. . 

It was six o'clock when the first rifle-shot sounded. At eight 
o'clock, Jackson had driven the nth corps upon the 12th, which \ 
formed the centre. He was within 550 yards of Hooker's head- 
quarters. The night intervening, during the darkness the ' 
Southern line became embarrassed in the felled trees, with which * . 
the Northern chief had furnished his works of defence about 
Chancellorsville. A halt was therefore necessary for the establish- 
ment of order. A. P. Hill's division took the place of the soldiers 
of Rodes and Colston. At that moment the Federal batteries, 
ranged in the bare space around Chancellorsville, opened their fire. 

All around the Federal head-quarters there was the most 



• terrible. and insane confusion possible. Men, beasts, cannons, 
waggons, ambulances, soon formed an infatuated mass, rushing 
Y^th the violence of a hurricane towards the RappahannocL In 

^ vain the officers tried by threats, prayers, blows, to stop the 
torrent of fiigitives. All was of no avail. It seemed that the 
; career of Hooker's army was ended, when the forced halt of 
which we have just spoken changed the aspect of affairs. If that 
had not taken place Jackson would have passed the night at 
• Chancellorsville, and his life, so precious to his country, would 
not have been sacrificed. 

Hooker profited by that moment of respite. Firing all the 
guns he had at hand, twenty-two in all, he directed volley after 
ifclley into the woods occupied by the Confederates. Meanwhile, 
, he hastily reformed his troops to resist new attacks. Putting 
himself at the head of his old division, he posted it at the ex- 
tremity of the little plain around Chancellorsville, to face the 

» enemy. Reinforcements of artillery arrived, and presently he was 
Hble to put in line fifty pieces, which rained down on the woods a 
shower of iron. 

It was ten o'clock. The moon illuminated the woods with a 
feeble light, which grew pale before the glare of the cannonade. 
la spite of the advanced hour, Jackson wished to recommence 
the attack, and get possession of the road leading to the fords. 
While his troops were preparing to make a fresh assault, the 
general himself, trusting to no one the task of reconnoitring the 
Federal position, went on in advance, leaving orders with his 
soldiers not to fire unless they saw cavalry approaching from the 
side of the enemy. He was accompanied by two of his staff- 
officers, several aides-de-camp, and their orderlies. Unfortunately, 

j although the enemy was only 150 or 200 yards off, no sentries 
had been placed there, and Jackson found himself outside the 
Confederate line, with nothing between him and the Federals. 

•" But for this criminal negligence there would have been no 
occasion to deplore the fatal consequences of that reconnoitring. 



Having finished his inspection, Jackson told one of his aides- 
de-camp to return to the camp and order General A. P. Hill to 
advance. Going quietly back towards his lines, without any warning 
whatever from his troops, whom he had recommended to give an 
eye to hostile cavalry, he received the fire of a brigade of his own 
soldiers. Struck twice, in the left arm and right hand, he saw all his 
escort fall around him except two persons. A heartrending scene 
followed. The two survivors assisted the general to dismount 
He was so feeble from the loss of blood that they were obliged to 
lay him under a tree. A messenger had been sent in search of a 
surgeon and ambulance, but before they could arrive General Hill 
joined the sad group. He learnt the sad calamity which had just 
befallen the army, and received orders to assume the command. 
Hill hastened to his post A few minutes after, it was said the 
enemy was approaching, and was only a hundred yards firom the 
place where the wounded general was lying. An effort was, 
therefore, made to get within the Confederate lines. Supported 
by two of his officers, who had joined him, he had slowly returned 
on foot, under a terrible artillery fire, which had just opened from 
the Federal batteries. On his way he was met by several of his 
own soldiers, who were marching to the encounter. His aides-de- 
camp did all they could to hinder the men from recognizing him, 
but this group of officers necessarily attracted attention, and 
several times the soldiers asked who was wounded. Each time 
the answer was, "A Confederate officer;" but presently, when a 
ray of moonlight illumined the general, who was walking bare- 
headed, one of his veterans recognised him, and exclaimed with 
anguish, "Good God ! it is General Jackson !" 

A moment after, General Pender approached to inform him he 
feared he could not maintain his stand ; Jackson's eye lighted up 
suddenly : " You must maintain it, general," said he quickly ; 
" you must keep your position, sir 1 " This was his last order 1 

The poor wounded general had hardly been able to drag himself 
twenty paces; his feebleness soon became so great, that they 


laid him on a hand-barrow. The little group had just recom- 
menced its march when a volley of grape-shot reached them, 
wounding one of the bearers. They were obliged to stop. For 
some minutes the fire was terrible, and they all lay on their faces 
on the ground. The cannonade ceasing somewhat, they hastened 
to carry the general into a place of safety, where he could receive 
for the first time the care so necessary in his state. 

This shower of grape-shot, to which Jackson had been exposed, 
caused great ravages in the Confederate ranks, wounding, among 
others. General A. P. Hill, who was thus obliged to resign his 
command. General Stuart replaced him. The rest of the night 
passed quiet enough, the two armies preparing to renew the 
conflict on the morrow. 

During the night, the Federal first corps, under General Reynolds, 
arrived from Fredericksburg to reinforce Hooker. The latter, 
seeing the danger of his being turned, sent Sedgwick orders to 
cany the heights of Fredericksburg without losing an instant, and 
bear down on Chancellors ville by the direct road, combatting 
everything that opposed his passage. He was to be at Chancellors- 
ville next day, — Sunday, the 3rd of May. 

As soon as possible, Jackson informed Lee of the misfortune 
that had happened. The bearer of this sad news arrived at head- 
quarters at four o'clock, a.m., and found the commander-in-chief 
lying on a litter of straw, under some fir-trees, covered by an oil- 
cloth, as a protection from the dew. Around him were lying the 
officers of his stafi", wrapped in their cloaks. On learning the evil 
tidings, Lee exclaimed with emotion : " God be praised ! the 
misfortune is reparable. He lives still !" Then he added : " Any 
victory is a dear one which deprives us of the services of Jackson, 
even for a short time." 

The aide-de-camp observed to General Lee, that Jackson's 
intention had been, on the preceding night, or, at latest, this 
morning, to become master of the United States Ford Road, on 
Hooker's rear, and so cut off the retreat of the Federal army. 


Lee, rising hastily, said the pursuit should begin. He dressed, 
took his simple breakfast of ham and biscuit, and prepared for the 
fight. He wrote in pencil the following letter to Jackson, — a letter 
which filled the wounded hero with joy and pride : 

" General, 

" I have just received your note, informing me that you 
were wounded. I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. 
Could I have directed events, I should have chosen, for the 
good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead. ' I 
congratulate you upon the victory which is due to your skill and 

He added also a word to General Stuart, giving him orders 
to take the command, and press briskly upon the enemy. Stuart 
had decided not to risk a night attack, inasmuch as the ground 
was unknown to him, and he had but few troops in hand. But he 
arranged matters to begin the fight again on the morrow. The 
corps was posted in three lines : HilFs division in the front rank 
then Colston's, and lastly that of Rodes. The report of Jackson's 
wound had spread among his soldiers, but in place of cowing 
them, as was expected, the news only added to their ardour and 
thirst for vengeance. At sunrise Stuart commenced the attack, 
the infantry marching on the hostile works with cries of: " Re- 
member Jackson ! " Seizing an elevated spot, and posting there 
30 guns, Stuart rained down on the Federal centre a shower of 
grape-shot, which thus suffered severely. To stop the Confederate 
advance, the enemy briskly attacked Stuart's left, and the contest 
went on with alternations of success and defeat. 

Meanwhile, Lee closed on Hooker's right and centre. Presently 
Anderson's division, by driving back the enemy's centre, was able 
to assist Stuart. As soon as Lee saw his army reunited, he gave 
orders to carry the Federal works around Chancellorsville by 
assault. All the Confederate line advanced, and, after a hand- 
to-hand conflict, mastered the hostile intrenchments. Hooker's 




soldiers re-formed, and recaptured what they had lost. ThreeJ 
times the works were taken and retaken. At length, on the fourth J 
attempt, supported by the fire of all their artillery, the Southerrt.i 
troops swept everything before them, took ihe Federfl lines, and \ 
drove their adversaries towards the river. At ten o'clock, a.: 
the Confederate flag floated triumphantly over Chancellorsvilie. 

The spectacle now was horrible to behold. The shells had set 
fire to the woods, filled with wounded, and devouring flames roared 
with a terrible noise all around those unfortunates, incapable oi 
saving themselves. Many perished a frightful death. The \ 
Chancellorsville house was burning, and all around there was ' 
nothing but fire and smoke. The cries of the combatants, the < 
noise of the firing, the discharges of' cannon, and the sinister- , 
cracking of the flames, afforded an appearance of wild and terrible 
grandeur to a scene seldom witnessed, even on a field of battle. 

Hooker seemed to have foreseen his defeat, for during the night 
of the second he had constructed a line of intrenchments behind 
his first line. These new works covered the crossing at United 
Stales Ford. They formed the third side of a triangle, whose 
Other two sides were the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, which 
there united. The Federal right was supported on the latter river, 
the left on the Rappahannock. Heavily armed, these lines were to 
efuge for the Federal army. 

Notwithstanding the strength of this new position, Lee deter- 
lined to carry it by assault, and force Hooker into the river. 
He disposed his troops accordingly, his centre being at Chan- 
cellorsville, and towards nightfall, he was on the point of signalling i 
the attack, when news was brought him that Sedgwick, after j 
defeating Early, was coming from Fredericksburg to take him oo J 
the flank. 

Sedgwick, about midnight, had received orders from Hooker t» J 
march to his aid. At three o'clock, a.m., on Sunday, he occupied 
Fredericksburg, easily driving before him some small Confederate | 
detachments. The first assault on Early's lines, before daybreak^ 


did not succeed. He had 22,000 men against Early's 6000, and 
recommenced the attack at eight o'clock, when, although several 
times repulsed, thanks to his superior numbers, he managed to 
crush his foe. At noon, the Northern general pierced the Con- 
federate centre, and remained master of all the positions which 
Lee had occupied since the battle on the 13th of December, 1862. 
Early 'being driven southwards, the Chancellorsville road was 
open to Sedgwick. Generals Barksdale and Wilcox, Early's two 
lieutenants, being separated from their chief, retired by the Chan- 
cellorsville road, and did all they could to delay Sedgwick's 

Such was the news which surprised Lee when preparing to 
attack Hooker's new positions on Sunday afternoon. At the 
moment of victory his peril was greater than it had ever been. 
But Lee was not a man to be beaten. Without hesitation, he 
resolved to leave a part of his small army to hold Hooker in 
check, and, with the rest, face Sedgwick, whom he promised 
himself to hurl back beyond the Rappanannock. The latter 
crushed, he then proposed to turn back upon Hooker, and make 
him share the fate of his subordinate. There was no time to lose, 
for if Sedgwick succeeded in taking Salem Heights, and he was 
very near them, he would command Lee's positions. 

Leaving Jackson's corps, therefore, under Stuart's orders, to 
watch Hooker, in the afternoon of the same Sunday, Lee marched 
to meet this new enemy, with MacLaws's division, and one brigade 
of Anderson's division. His march was so rapid that, at four 
o'clock, p.m., he had already reached Salem. He was just in 
time. Wilcox was defending Salem Chapel heroically, the building 
being on the culminating point of the height ; but his soldiers, all 
that remained to him of his own and Barksdale's brigades, 2000 
men against zo,ooo, could not long continue so unequal a struggle. 
MacLaws's division formed to march to his succour, when 
Sedgwick made a vigorous assault with his two divisions, and got 
possession of the summit. He could now sweep, with the fire of 


his batteries, the Confederate lines. But this success was of short 
duration ; Lee, in his turn, formed his army in order of battle, and 
precipitating his whole force on the enemy, recaptured the heights, 
and drove the Federals into the woods. Night finished the 
combat. Sedgwick was suddenly arrested. This battle cost him 
4925 men. Next day, May 4th, Lee, having been joined by the 
rest of Anderson's division, directed this general to turn Sedgwick's 
left wing, and cut him otf from the river. Sedgwick was still at 
the head of men, while Lee disposed of only 14,000, ail 
Jackson's corps having remained in front of Hooker. 

Anderson's turning movement was accomplished vrith difficulty, 
and the Federal resistance lasted till night, although they yielded 
all along the line. Unfortunately tor the Confederates, night was 
already falling on the two armies when the Federals gave way. 
Their retreat was on the point of being intercepted : profiting by 
the darkness, Sedgwick retired during the night, and crossed the 
Rappahannock by a bridge which he had had the precaution to 
throw over it the previous evening; the Confederates pressed him 
close, and Lee's artillery opened its fire on him at the moment 
when the hindmost of his soldiers were crossing the river. 

Hastily confiding the keeping of Fredericksburg to Early's 
division, Lee set out again at five o'clock, a.m., to give a decided 
blow to Hooker. He rapidly travelled tlie sbtteen miles, and 
arrived, in the afternoon, at Chancellorsville, with the divisions of 
Anderson and MacLaws. He soon arranged his forces so as to 
assault the Federal lines next morning. 

But Sedgwick's defeat had demoralized Hooker; he had pre- 
pared his bridges, and during the night, between die 5th and 6th, 
he sent his artillery, trains, and army across the Rappahannock. 
On the 6th, at dawn, the Confederate scouts preceding Lee's 
army, which was advancing in order of battle on the enemy's 
positions, discovered that they were abandoned. The Southern 
troops hastened their march through the Federal lines, but were 
a under the tire of tiie batteries which Hooker had erected oa 


the opposite bank, whence, from an elevated spot, he commanded 
the bank occupied by the Confederates. Lee was triumphant 
along the whole line. 

The Confederates had, therefore, put to flight two armies, and the 
campaign ended gloriously. But their losses were serious. Out 
of an army of less than 50,000 men, the dead, wounded, and dis- 
appeared amounted to 10,281. Those of the enemy were still 
greater : they had lost 17,197 men, of whom 5000 were prisoners. 
The Federal wounded had most of them fallen into the hands of 
the Confederates, who had thus gained 14 cannon, 19,500 arms 
of different kinds, 1 7 standards, and a quantity of ammunition. 

This campaign, brilliantly conceived and admirably directed, 
had cost the life of General Jackson, who died on the loth of 
May. This was to pay very dearly for victory. 

This is the order of the day in which the general-in-chief 
announced this loss to the army : 

** Head-quarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 

"May nth, 1863. 

"General Order, No. 61. 

" With deep grief the commanding general announces to 
the army the death of Lieutenant General T. J. Jackson, who 
expired on the loth inst., at a quarter-past three, p.m. The 
daring, skill, and energy of this great and good soldier, by the 
decree of an all-wise Providence, are now lost to us. But while 
we mourn his death, we feel that his spirit still lives, and will 
inspire the whole army with his indomitable courage and unshaken 
confidence in God as our hope and strength. Let his name be a 
watchword to his corps, who have followed him to victory on so 
many fields. Let his officers and soldiers emulate his invincible 
determination to do everything in the defence of our beloved 

" R. E. Lee, General." 

In another order of the day he thanked his soldiers for their 

. *■,- 


^^^V among themse 



U- «s 

brilliant conduct, and specially recommended them to assemble 
themselves on the following Sabbath, to give the God of 
battles the glory due to His holy name. 

The column of cavalry which Hooker had detached at the 1 
beginning of these later military operations, to cut off Lee's com- 
munications with Richmond, did some damage to the railway, 
destroyed several houses, pillaged several farms; but here its 
exploits ended. The news of Hooker's defeat caused it to return 
in all haste, hotly pursued and harassed by the Southern cavalry. 
General Lee, however, profited by the confusion which this raid 
had raised, to call Government's attention to the relative feebleness 
of the Confederate cavalry, decimated by fatigue. He urgently 
requested that horses should be brought from Texas to remount 
his men while communications with that district were still open. 

What especially strikes us in this short and glorious campaign 
at Chancellors ville is, Lee's extreme boldness, as well as Hooker's 
extraordinary blunders. 

On May ist, when the latter issued firom the Chancellorsville 
iTOods, every plan of his had succeeded, and every plan ought to 
succeed, for his measures were admirably taken. He had brought 
his army, 100, ooo strong, and posted it in an excellent position 
east of Chancellorsville, on the Fredericksburg road. General 
Sedgwick remained In the latter town, it is true, but the principal 
army covered .the crossing at Banks's Ford, which was only twelve 
miles from Fredericksburg ; it would have been easy, in the after- 
noon of that same day, to have quite concentrated the whole 
army. According to all appearance Lee was lost Further, his 
forces, altogether inferior, were dispersed, and exposed to be 
attacked in detail. Sedgwick menaced his right at Fredericksburg ; 
Hooker at Chancellorsville was preparing to fall on his left 
Nothing, therefore, appeared easier than to crush one of its wings 
before the other could come to its succour. But Hooker seems to 
have doubted himself, and when Lee took the offensive, marching 
against him with the bulk of his forces, he retired from the strong 


positions which he occupied in the open country, to take refuge in 
the woods surrbunding Chancellorsville. 

No doubt this was a serious error. This retrograde movement 
of the Federal general not only discouraged his soldiers, hitherto 
confident in the certainty of a victory promised them in the 
triumphant orders of the day issued by their chief, but also took 
from him all the advantages an open country gave, where his 
numerous army could manoeuvre and deploy with facility. 

Lee immediately profited by the blunder of his adversary, and 
vigorously driving the Federals before him into the Wilderness, 
he, on May ist, in the evening, shut Hooker and his army up 
there. This unexpected result changed the aspect of affairs; 
the Federal army, which should have closely pursued Lee to 
Richmond, had just retrograded, and the latter, who was supposed 
to be in full retreat, pursued Hooker instead, and offered him 

It was at this moment that Lee took a step of unheard of 
boldness. Dividing his little army into two, he threw himself on 
the Federal right It would be unfair to make General Hooker 
responsible for the success of a movement he could not foresee, for 
in coming to this decision, contrary to all miUtary rules, Lee*s 
only justification was the truly critical state of affairs for the 
South. In the impossibility of undertaking anything against 
Hooker's left or centre, so strongly were they intrenched, it was 
absolutely necessary either to beat a retreat or make an assault 
elsewhere. A Confederate retreat would have given up to the 
enemy a large extent of fertile country, and the moral effect would 
have been most disastrous. ' Hence the compulsion to attack the 
Federal right. The success of this manoeuvre was extraordinary, 
and its results overwhelming. The Northern army was only saved 
from complete rout by Sedgwick's attack on the Confederate 
flank, which obliged Lee, at the moment when he was about to 
pursue Hooker's demoralized troops, and throw them into the 
river, to return against this new adversary. But on learning 



that his lieutenant was also repulsed, tlie Federal commander 
appeared to lose courage completely, and without a moment's 
delay put the river between himself and the Confederates. 

While confessing that Hooker's blunders contributed much to 
Lee's success, the impartial historian will also confess that never 
in all his career did the Southern chief give greater proofs of his 
ability. He cannot he reproached with a single strategic fault, 
from the moment when Sedgwick crossed the Rappahannock at 
Fredericksburg to that ia which Hooker lecrossed the same river. 
Perhaps it will be objected that he lost time, on the 5th of May, 
in not attacking the Federals in their second line of intrenchments ; 
but this forced inaction of his is explained in different ways : the 
fatigue of his soldiers, exhausted by four days of fighting, and 
several consecutive days' marching ; the necessity of reforming his 
lines before the final effort ; and the very natural conviction that 
Hooker, having still more than 100,000 men under his orders, 
would not so easily give up his enterprise, but would defend him 
self with energy — all amply suffice to explain this delay. One 
cannot but be convinced that there was much to make a com- 
mander who had but 35,000 men, all told, hesitate, and who felt 
that his army was the principal hope of the South. 

This rapid camiiaign is unique in itself from beginning 60 end 
It is a model to be studied by those who are interested in the art 
of war. Lee's movements throughout were remarkable for rapidity 
I and audacity. On April 29th, Hooker crosses the Rappahannock. 

^^^^ Lee at once advances towards the menaced point, orders tlie feeble 
^^^ft detachments posted on this side to retire, and concentrates them 
^^^r at Chancellorsviile. Learning that Sedgwick had likewise crossed 
P at Fredericksburg, the Confederate chief, after a hasty conference 

I with Jackson, resolves to conduct the bulk of his forces against 

^^^ Hooker. On May ist, the enemy is driven back on Chancellors- 
^^^L ville ; on the 2ad, his right is crushed and his army thrown into 
^^^K disorder ; on the 3rd, he is driven from Chancellorsviile, and but 
^^^L for Sedgwick's advance, which Lee, from his want of men could not 


hinder, Hooker, that same day, would have experienced an over- 
whelming defeat. Thus, in the space of four days, Lee had rapidly 
taken the offensive, had first stopped, then attacked, and finally 
repulsed with immense loss, an army three times his own. On the 
last day of April, a hostile mass of 120,000 men held him sur- 
rounded ; on the 3rd of May, the chief corps of the enemy was re- 
treating in the greatest disorder, and on the morning of the 6th, 
not a Federal soldier, prisoners excepted, was to be found south of 
the Rappahannock. 

In the midst of these critical scenes, when the stake played for 
was not only the Confederate capital, but also the very cause of 
the South, Lee remained unalterably calm. Without descending ' 
to the clamorous and jeering brags of Hooker, as testified in the 
orders of the day, and in conversations held with his ofl[icers by 
this latter, Lee, by a kind of instinctive reaction, had become 
almost merry. When one of Jackson's aides-de-camp came in 
great haste to Fredericksburg to tell him that the enemy was passing 
the river with imposing forces, the Confederate commander said 
with a sly smile : " Well, I heard firing, and I was beginning to 
think it was time some of you lazy young fellows were coming to 
tell me what it was all about Say to General Jackson that he 
knows just as well what to do with the enemy as I do." 

The most important incident of the battle of Chancellorsville, 
was the mortal wound which Stonewall Jackson there received. 
This illustrious lieutenant of Lee had become his right hand, 
and Lee felt his loss cruelly. Since the opening of hostilities, 
no name had won so much upoii public favour as that of 
Jackson. In the short space of two years the brilliant 
manner in which he executed the missions with which he was 
charged, and the continual triumphs which he gained, .rendered 
his name, previously utterly unknown, famous. He came 
out of an early struggle, difficult and unequal, in the Valley of 
Virginia, a conqueror, although he had to do with forces very 
superior to his own. These victories, at a time so critical, and on 


217 I 

a frontier so important, contributed not a little to electrify the in- 1 
habitants of Richmond, and, indeed, of all the Confederacy. He | 
then took a very important part in the Seven Days' Battle against ' 
MacClellan, in 1862, on the Chickahomiay. Sent towards the 
North, he defeated Pope's vaE at Cedar Mountain, commanded 
Lee's left wing in the turning movement against Pope's flank, 
destroyed Manassas, maintained himself till the arrival of his chief, , 
and largely contributed to the victory which followed. Hence he ' 
crossed into Maryland, marched on Harper's Ferry, and mastered 
it; he was 'by Lee's side in the battle of Sharpsburg, and there 
kept his ground without stumbling before the rude assaults of the 
enemy. If this contest remained indecisive, instead of being a. 
defeat for the South, the merit is chiefly due to Lee as general 
and Jackson as soldier. When the Confederates retired, Jackson 
remained in the Valley to embarrass MacClellan. In this, he per- 
fectly succeeded, then suddenly re-appeared at Fredericksburg, 
where he received and repulsed one of the two great Federal 
attacks, [n the following spring was fought the sanguinary battle 
of Chancellors ville, the last battle of the heroic Jackson, With . 
this glorious conflict finished the career of hira who had become ] 
Lee's alter ego. 

It is not difficult to estimate what the general-in-chief felt on 
losing a man who was at once the soldier on whom he most relied, 
and the friend he most dearly cherished. The connection between 
Lee and Jackson had, from the first, been most cordial. Never 
had a shadow arisen to disturb the reciprocal feelings of affection 
and admiration which they had for one another. Never had they 
asked of each other wliat place they occupied in the public esteem, 
which of the two had the greatest sh^ire in the respect and love of 
their fellow-citizens. On the contrary, it was itnpossible to please 
Lee better than by settiagforth the splendour of Jackson's services. 
He was, under all circumstances, the first to acknowledge publicly 1 
how much was owing to his illustrious lieutenant, to express in 1 
high terms all the admiration which he felt for his military talents, i 


and to attribute to him, as, in fact, he wrote after the battle of 
Chancellorsville, all the merit of the victory. 

The spectacle of two soldiers loving and admiring each other, 
without any mental reservation, without a shadow ruffling their 
self-respect, is a beautiful one. As for Jackson, his love for his 
chief was more profound ; it contained as much of veneration as 
of admiration. To give birth to such feeUngs in such a man, 
Lee must not only have been a military genius of the highest rank, 
but also a man endued with great moral qualities and great 
piety. Jackson's opinion never varied, and his confidence 


and attachment remained unshaken to the end. He invariably 
defended his chief against criticism. Some one, one day, re- 
proached Lee with being slow. Jackson, who was present, 
habitually very silent, this time could not restrain himself: 
" General Lee," exclaimed he, ** is not slow. No one knows the 
weight upon his heart — his great responsibilities. He is com- 
mander-in-chief, and he knows that if an army is lost, it cannot be 
replaced. No ! there may be some persons whose good opinion 
of me may make them attach some weight to my views, and, if you 
ever hear that said of General Lee, I beg you will contradict it in 
my name. I have known General Lee for five-and-twenty years. 
He is cautious ; he ought to be. But he is not slow. Lee is a 
phenomenon. He is the only ma^ whom I would follow blind- 
folded !" 

Such an encomium, from such a man, speaks for itself. Time 
only increased these sentiments with Jackson. He submitte'd his 
whole will to his chief. The least word of Lee was sacred to his 
lieutenant ; all he did could not be otherwise than right. Only 
once was he of a different opinion, when, after his wound' and 
victory at Chancellorsville, he received from Lee that little word of 
congratulation : " General Lee," said he, " is very kind ; but he 
should give the glory to God !" 

Lee returned this affection fully ; he consulted Jackson always, 
and regarded him as his bosom friend. Rarely was there a question 


between tliem as to the reJations of superior to subordinate, except I 
when, in his quality of commander-in-chief, Lee had to come to a fl 
decision. In details, he depended entirely on Jackson, certain, i 
that he would always act for the best. 

Lee's affection showed itself in a striting manner after Chan- 
cellorsville. Jackson, seriously wounded, was at an inn in thc« 
Wilderness. Lee, retained on the battle-field by the critical state ] 
of the situation, rendered still more so by Jackson's absence, could' 
not steal away for a moment to press the invalid's hand. Not 
looking upon the wound as dangerous, and, indeed, it did not 
become so till the last moment, he unceasingly sent for news of 
him, and forwarded these words of friendship : " Give him my 
affectionate regards," said he to one of his aides-de-camp : " tell 
htm to make haste and get well, and come back to me as soon as 
he can. He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right." 

When, shortly after, the symptoms grew worse, and it began to I 
be whispered that the end would be fatal, Lee was deeply moved, 
and exclaimed : " Surely General Jackson must recover ! God 
will not take him from ns, now that we need him so much. Surely ^ 
he will be spared to us, in answer to the many prayers which are I 
offered for him !" 

He became silent for a moment, an evident prey to violent and j 
sorrowful emotion. Then, addressing an officer wliom he was 
sending to the wounded general, he said : " When you return, I 
trust you will find him better. When a suitable occasion offers, 
give him my love, and tell him that I wrestled in prayer for him 
last night, as I never prayed, I beHeve, for myself" 

The grief which Lee felt at Jackson's death was too profound for ' 
tears. God alone knows what that order of the day cost him, i 
which he imparted the tidings of this loss to the army 1 



lee's second entry into MARYLAND.— movements LEADING TO THE 


The defeat of General Hooker at Chancellorsville marks one of 
the decisive moments of the Civil War. For the first time it 
appeared to be perhaps possible that the Washington Government 
would come to the conclusion to recognise the independence of 
the South. Although hitherto the Federal authorities had regarded 
as utterly inadmissible the creation of a distinct Confederation in 
the South, the two defeats which the Northern troops had just ex- 
perienced on the Rappahannock, had given rise to many serious 
doubts with many Unionists of the possibility of repressing the 
Confederates by force. Besides, the proclamations in which 
President Lincoln declared the slaves in the South free, and in 
reality put the United States in a state of siege, exasperated the 
democratic party, who complained bitterly that all constitutional 
liberties were disappearing. 

Hence came a violent reaction in opinion : from all sides pro- 
testations arrived against a continuation of the war. Many 
journals in New York and elsewhere declared themselves against 
the politics of the Government A convention of the friends of 
peace met at Philadelphia to deliberate on the measures to be 
employed in the realization of their' wishes. Judge Curtis, of 
Boston, formerly one of the associate-judges of the .Supreme Court 
of the United States, vehemently inveighed against the violation, 


' by the President, of the Federal pact " I do not see," wrote he, 
"that it depends upon the executive decree whether a servile war ■ 
shall be invoked, to help 20,000,000 of the white race to assert the 
rightful authority of the constitution and laws of their country over 
those who refuse to obey theia But I do see that this proclama- 
tion (emancipating the Southern slaves) asserts the power of the 
executive to make such a decree ! I do not perceive how it is 
that my neighbours and myself, residing remote from armies 
their operations, and where all the laws of the land may be ^ 
enforced by constitutional means, should be subjected to the possi- 
bility of arrest, and imprisonment, and trial before a military com- 
mission, and punishment at its discretion, for offences unknown to 
the law, — a possibility to be converted into a fact at the mere will 
of the President, or of some subordinate ofEicer, clothed by him 
with this power. But I do perceive that this executive power is 
asserted. ... It must be obvious to the meanest capacity 1 
that, if the President of the United States has an implied consti- 
tutional right, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, in time 
of war, to disregard any one positive prohibition of the constitution, 
or to exercise any one power not delegated to the United States by 
the constitution, because, in his judgment, he may thereby best J 
subdue the enemy, he has the same right, for the same reason, to I 
disregard each and every provision of the constimtion, and to j 
exercise all power needful in his opinion to enable him ^j/foj«^(/«« 
the enemy. . . . The time has certainly come when the people 
of the United States rrrust understand, and must apply those great 
rules of civil liberty, which have been arrived at by the self-devoted 
efforts of thought and action of their ancestors during 700 years of 
struck against arbitrary power." 

Such were the echoes wliich Lee's cannon at Chancellorsville •] 
awakened. All in the North, and their number was great, whom, j 
hitherto the military necessities of the situation had drawn iiito i 
accepting the continuation ofthe war, or whom the very extent o£ i 
.irpalions of the executive power had intimidated, rose and 


declared themselves partisans of an understanding with the South 
on the basis of a separation. 

A thrill of relief and joy overran the whole country at the 
prospect of a speedy peace. This was the moment chosen by 
Mr. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States, to submit 
to the Government of Richmond a proposition tending to open 
up negotiations with the North. He offered his own services 
as negotiator. He particularly desired to be able to arrive 
at Washington before any fresh military operations, by re* 
awakening the warlike spirit, had added to the already great 
difficulties of his task. Mr. Stephens's letter was dated the 12th 
of June. Mr. Davis, consequently, called him to Richmond by a 
telegram, but he did not arrive till the 22nd of June. Lee*s troops 
were then entering Maryland, and the time was gone. 

The plan of a new invasion of Maryland by a Confederate army 
owed its birth to several causes. The two great victories of 
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville had filled the South with joy 
and confidence. Hence it was demanded on all sides that Lee 
should take the offensive against an enemy apparently incapable 
of resisting the Confederates. The army, whose ranks were 
renewed by the return of many men on furlough or invalided, by 
the re-entry of many conscripts, and the recall of Longstreet*s two 
corps, shared the universal enthusiasm. Public opinion thus 
exercised a strong impression on the Government and on General 
Lee, and influenced them to take the offensive, which, according 
to all appearance, would in a brief space bring about an illustrious 
victory and glorious peace. 

This mode of looking at things squared sufficiently with Lee's 
inward thought, who regarded it as very important to keep the 
enemy as far as possible from the interior of the country, and to 
shift the theatre of war to the frontier on Federa soil. In this 
way the South would be as little as possible exposed to the ravages of 
the enemy, and Richmond, the capital, would remain sheltered from 
all danger. This last consideration was one of much importance, 


as the future proved. As long as the Federals could be kept at 
some distance north of the Rappahannock, Richmond and its 
network of railways, which connected it with all the South, were 
in safety, and the Confederate Government, quiet in its capital, 
continued to affirm itself as an independent power in the eyes of 
the world. But if the enemy succeeded in approaching the capital, 
and menacing its hnes of communication, the Government could 
no longer remain there in safety. This was one of the motives 
which continually influenced Lee to manoeuvre in such a way as 
to keep the enemy off Virginian soil. The question of provisions 
also intervened. At all times they had specially failed the Con- 
federates ; it was, therefore, essential to be master of the greatest 
possible extent of country to draw provisions from. Besides, the 
Confederate commissariat was always at its last shifts. It is even 
said that when, in May or June, Lee sent a requisition to Rich- 
mond for victuals, the commissary-general would have written on 
the margin ; " If General Lee wants rations, let him go and get 
them in Pennsylvania." 

Such were the chief reasons which persuaded the Richmond 
Cabinet to take the offensive, after the battle of Chan cell orsville. 

There was likewise another. If victory had hither crowned the 
efforts of the Northern Virginian army, it was not the same as to 
the other Southern armies in the West and South-West of the 
Confederate States. 

Genera! Bragg's army in Tennessee had experienced nothing but 
reverses. General Pemberton had permitted himself to be shut 
up in Vicksburg on the Mississippi, and beyond that river the 
Confederates were losing ground rapidly. For a moment there 
was an idea of detaching a division from Lee's army (which 
would then of necessity have remained on the defensive), and 
sending it to raise the siege of Vicksburg. But tliis would have 
been to enfeeble the most exposed part of the frontier, and sacrifice 
Virginia to save Vicl^sburg. Lee himself counselled against this 
plan, adding, however, that if the measure appeared absolutely 


necessary, he would send off Pickett's division immediately. It 
was, therefore, given up, and instead of it, a new invasion of the 
North was contemplated. 

The tone of Lee's army was excellent His veterans were ready 
to undertake anything. On the other hand, the commissariat had 
much ado to feed the army, and naturally enough the idea 
presented itself of going into Pennsylvania, and living at the 
expense of the enemy. As to the Federals, the departure of 
soldiers enrolled who had finished their service, and desertions, 
becoming more and more frequent, enfeebled Hooker's army. 
Generally in the North the discouragement following the reverses 
in Virginia went on increasing. All these considerations en- 
couraged the South to seize the favourable opportunity for resuming 
the offensive by striking a great blow in Pennsylvania, and by 
making a diversion for the armies of the West, to obtain for the 
South that advantage which it was beginning to lose. 

This invasion of the North by Lee has been severely criticised. 
What, however, does he himselfsayinhis report? — " The enemy's 
positions at Fredericksburg being too formidable for him to be 
dislodged by force, it was necessary to bring about the desired 
result by other means. It was likewise urgent to rid the She- 
nandoah Valley of the Federal troops, who had occupied the 
lower part of it during the winter and spring, and, if occasion 
offered, to transport the theatre of war to the north of the Potomac. 
On the other hand, it was probable that the movements of the 
enemy, — movements which would be the inevitable consequences 
of our operations, would offer us an opportunity to smite General 
Hooker's army unawares, and, in any case, this army would be 
compelled to evacuate Virginia, and, indeed, to summon to its aid 
all such detachments as were operating in other parts of the 
country. So that it was permitted us to hope that the Federal 
plan for their summer campaign would be frustrated, and the fine 
weather would have, in good part, gone, before they were able to 
design another. Besides, if we were to gain some — even trifling 


— successes, the result could not be otherwise than favourable to 

Hooker, indeed, occupied at Fredericksburg a position carefully 
fortified. He was but a short distance from the Potomac, and 
this magnificent river, whose entire course was in his hands, 
brought him unlimited provisions, ammunition, and reinforce- 
ments. The Confederate commander had the choice between 
two plans only. To remain where he was, and wait for his foe to 
take the offensive when it seemed good to him, was simply to 
permit Hooker lo repair his losses, and turn the Confederate 
position with altogether superior forces, obliging Lee either to 
retire, or give battle in the plain to ari array much more numerous 
than his own. This would bring about the successive abandon- 
ment of all the Confederate strongholds and magazines. The 
other plan, on the contrary, offered all possible advantages. 
By marching to the North, Lee forced the Federals to quit 
their Fredericksburg positions, and give battle, or retire on 
Washington. If they resigned themselves to the latter conrse, 
by hastening a little his march towards the North, Lee constrained 
Hooker to manceuvre in such a manner as to cover Baltimore 
and Philadelphia. 

It was thus very natural to suppose that more than once these 
complicated operations would offer to the Confederate commander 
an opportunity of inflicting harm on his adversary without neces- 
sarily engaging in a pitched battle. For some time, at lea^t, 
Virginia would not be crowded with hostile armies ; its population 
would have a breathing space, after having been so long over- 
whelmed by a foreign occupation. Provisions would flow in in 
abundance, instead of the meagre rations which had been served 
out to the soldiers for months : the Federal project of marching 
on Richmond roust necessarily be abandoned, and Lee would 
have the choice of delivering battle where and when he pleased. 

The great general who bad so admirably conducted military 
' operations in Virginia did not hesitate. He, however, had no 



illusions on the possibility of maintaining himself permanently, 
with an army of 60,000 men, in the midst of provinces filled with 
hostile and energetic populations, having aroimd him armies of 
the enemy twice as numerous as his own, and nearly 200 mileS 
from his base of operations. But he promised himself to profit by 
all the advantages which chance, or the folly of his adversaries, 
might offer him ; though, as to conquering Pennsylvania, or long 
maintaining himself there, he knew too well the enormous 
inequality between the forces of the two belligerents to be lulled 
into so false a hope. Nobody more than he had it at heart to 
spare the lives of his men, and economise his resources. It was 
only by force of skill and strategy that he could hope to struggle 
with his foe. If he marched to the North, it was in order there to 
play for the great stake at issue on the best conditions. Had 
the battle of Gettysburg never taken place, or had Lee on that 
day remained master of the Federal position, he would still have 
been obliged, in case negotiations for peace were not commenced, 
or in case the time favourable for military operations were passing 
away, to retire to a point more within reach of his convoys of 
provisions and ammunition. 

Thus fall of their own weight all the plans which lend a colour 
to the arguments of those writers on Lee, who have not suffi- 
ciently studied the relative situation of the two combatants at this 
period of the war. Thus are reduced to nothing those hopes 
which these critics suppose Lee to have harboured of dictating 
peace on Northern soil. His views were not so ambitious. 

The only composition which Lee pubHshed on the Gettysburg 
campaign, the official report already quoted, estabhshes the fact 
that he wished to attract Hooker to the north of the Potomac ; to 
rid the Valley of the Shenandoah of the enemy's presence, in 
order to draw from this fertile region the victuals of which he had 
so much need ; to force the Federals to recall to the aid of their 
principal army the troops which were devastating the coasts of the 
Confederacy; and, at a favourable moment, by attacking and 



beating Hooker, work a. reaction in the opinion of the North in 
favour of a termination of the war. It is hardly doubtful that a 
decisive defeat of the Federals at this moment would have brought 
about a peace. A third disaster for its armies would have 
shaken the resolution of the Federal Government If Lee's 
cannon had thundered at the gates of Washington or Philadelphia, 
the peace party in the North would have felt suflicJendy strong to 
intervene in an efficacious manner, and it would have been 
impossible for the strife to continue. 

We ought to add that, in his report, Lee said, " It had not been 
intended to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, 
unless attacked by the enemy." He, therefore, wished to compel 
General Hooker to attack him on a ground of his own choosing, 
and at the moment when he judged most opportune. 

The foregoing observations will give a clear idea of Lee's 
projects and intentions in his last offensive campaign. We shall 
continue our narrative, and relate the movements which preceded 
and led to the battle df Gettysburg. 
' The resolution to take the offensive once arrived at, the Con- 
federate Government lost not a moment in preparing for its 
execution. Longslreet's corps had rejoined Lee shortly after 
Chancel! orsville. Jackson's death having reodered it necessary 
to replace him in the command of the and corps, General Ewell 
was promoted to it, with the approbation of all. A third corps 
was organised and placed under the orders of General A. P. Hill, 
who, as well as Ewell, was nominated lieutenant-genera!. The 
v'iaw of enlistment, rigorously applied, brought many conscripts to 
the Confederate ranks. The soldiers, better armed and better 
equipped than Uiey had ever been, were submitted to a rigid 
discipline ; they were practised daily in the management of arms ; 
numerous reviews and inspections were not long in producing 
excellent results. The artillery in particular was the object of 
special care. About the end of May, the army counted 70,000 

kmen, of whom 10,000 were in the cavalry ! Longslreet's corps 


comprised the three divisions of MacLaws, Hood, and Pickett ; 
Ewell's corps, the divisions of Early, Rodes, and Johnson ; and 
Hill's corps, the divisions of Anderson, Pender, and Heth. 

The North was not ignorant of any of the preparations which 
the South was making to invade its soil. Northern journals 
could not exhaust the subject in accounts and details transmitted 
by Unionists from border-counties. 

On the 3rd of June, just a month after the battle of Chan- 
cellorsville, Longstreet's corps, which had been in cantonments at 
Fredericksburg and on the Rapidan, marched to Culpepper Court 
House, and was followed, on the 4th and 5 th, by Ewell's corps. 
A. P. Hill remained at Fredericksburg to deceive Hooker, by 
making him believe that all the Confederate army was still 
occupying its old positions. 

The Federal general still (according to a despatch of the 13th of 
May to President Lincoln) commanded 80,000 men. This refers 
only to his infantry. It was the only and last occasion during the 
whole war on which the South could put on foot an army anyway 
approaching that of the North. 

Hooker, persuaded that something was hatching in the enemy's 
camp, and fearing to be mystified, like Pope, in the year pre- 
ceding, sent Sedgwick's corps across the Rappahannock, on the 
6th, at Deep Run, to get information about the strength and 
arrangements of the Confederates. 

General Hill placed his troops so as to receive Sedgwick's 
attack, should one happen, an^ sent word to his general-in-chief. 
But, as it was evident from Sedgwick's movements that he only 
intended to reconnoitre in force, Lee allowed Longstreet and 
Ewell to pursue their march, and, on the 8th, both these corps 
were concentrated at Culpepper Court House, where Stuart 
awaited them with the cavalry. 

Hooker, nowise enlightened by Sedgwick's reconnoitring, 
learning that Stuart was at Culpepper Court House, sent two 
divisions of Federal cavalry under General Pleasanton, supported 


by two brigades of infaEtry, to dislodge him. The Federals 
attempted the passage of the Rappahannock at two crossings, 
Kelly's Ford and Beverley's Ford. Received promptly at 
Beverley's Ford by General Jones, supported by the cavalry 
under W, H. F. Lee, while Stuart himself and Robertson defended 
the other crossing, Pleasanton's troops, towards evening, were 
obliged to re-ford the river, leaving 400 prisoners in the hands of 
their foes. Their losses in killed and wounded amounted to 
several hundred men. The Confederates acknowledged a loss of 
500 men, and among them General W. H, F. Lee, seriously 

This affair, in which zo,ooq cavalry had taken part, revealed to 
Hooker the presence of hostile forces more numerous than he 
had thought at Culpepper, Fearing for his communications with 
Washington, he marched back his third corps to the upper 
Rappahannock, and redoubled his vigilance to guard the line of 
that river. 

Having thus succeeded in hunting out his adversary, Lee 
hastened his advance march. General Imboden, who commanded 
on the Maryland frontier, received orders to make a demonstra- 
tion on Romney, and destroy the Baltimore and Ohio railway, in 
order to turn attention from Ewetl's movements, and hinder the 
Federal troops, who were watching the safety of this railway, from 
going to the aid of the town of Winchester, in the Valley of 

On the loth of June, Eweli left Culpepper Court House, 
marched rapidly by Little Washington, entered into the Valley, 
and passed the Shenandoah at Front Royal. He was preceded 
by General Jenkins's cavalry, who, by intercepting all the roads 
which led towards Winchester, hindered the news of Ewell's 
approach from coming to the knowledge of the threatened town. 
General Mihoy occupied Winchester with 6000 Federal troops. 
He had made himself detested, and had pushed his inhumanity so 
far, that the Confederate Government had put him beyond the 


pale of the law. Thus the inhabitants of this part of Virginia 
were filled with joy at the approach of the Southerners. 

Ewell lost not a moment. Detaching Rodes's division towards 
Berrysville, with orders to get possession of Martinsburg, and cut 
off the Federal retreat in the lower part of the Valley, he marched 
in person with his two other divisions on Winchester. Arrived 
before this town on the 13th, he employed the rest of the day in 
fixing his batteries, and next morning commenced the bombard- 
ment In the evening an assault was made. Although the town 
was surrounded by formidable redoubts, the Southerners speedily 
became masters of it. The greater part of the garrison were 
made prisoners. Milroy escaped, and reached Harper's Ferry. 
On the 13th, General Rodes took possession of Berrysville, where 
he made 700 prisoners ; on the 14th, he occupied Martinsburg, 
and took 200 Federals, some cannon, and a considerable quantity 
of provisions and ammunition. 

Ewell, thanks to the rapidity of his movements, had effectually 
surprised the enemy; in three days he had ftiarched 70 miles, 
taken three towns, made 4000 prisoners, without counting 29 
pieces of artillery, 270 waggons, and abundance of provisions and 
ammunition. His soldiers were full of enthusiasm, and said aloud 
that Jackson had found a worthy successor. Halting scarcely 
long enough to rest his men, Ewell quitted Winchester, and, 
marching on the Potomac, seized the fords of this river, and the 
entire Valley thus was restored into the power of the South. 

Hooker learned Ewell's march by telegraph, and understood he 
had been played with by his skilful adversary. The first effect of 
this news was, that the whole Federal army fell back on Centre- 
ville. General A. P. Hill, whom Sedgwick's retreat set at liberty, 
then received orders to cross into the Shenandoah Valley. 

The Federal general-in-chief, always persuaded that Lee in- 
tended to cut off his communications with the capital, was so 
posted as to cover Washington. Lee, having with him only 
Longstreet's corps and Stuart's cavalry, watched the Federal 


23 r 


retreat, in hopes that an opportunity would be given to him of an 
unexpected attack. But Hooker remained constantly and strictly 
on the defensive. 

In order to attract Che Federal array further from its base, and 
mask Hill's march, who was going from Fredericksburg into the 
Valley, Longstreet, leaving Culpepper Court House on the rsth 
of June, went along the side of the Blue Ridge, and occupied 
Ashby's Gap and Snicker's Gap. This movement having, indeed, 
attracted Hooker far from Washington, and towards the mountains, 
A. P. Hill passed the Blue Ridge, entered the Valley, and took 
position at Winchester. 

By these admirably combined strategic movements, General 
Lee had, in less than a fortnight, compelled the Federal army to 
fall back from the Rappahannock on the upper Potomac, and had 
accompUshed the placing of his three corps in strong positions, 
mutually supporting each other, securing leisure for them to enter 
the enemy's country at their will, without forthwith risking an 
opporttmity to Hooker to embarrass them on their march. 

At first sight one might tax Lee with excessive rashness for 
extending his lines so far that his extreme left, under Ewell, in 
view of Winchester, was 98 miles from his extreme right, under 
Hill, opposite Fredericksburg, Longstreet being half way between 
them at Culpepper ; besides, a river, the Rapidan, flowed between 
Hill and Longstreet, and the Blue Ridge chain separated the 
latter from Ewell. Hooker's army, at least equal in number to 
that of Lee, was concentrated on the southern bank of the Rappa- 
hannock, and the opportunity appeared tempting for the Federal 
genera] to strike a blow, and profit by the dispersion of his 

As to that, the idea had occurred, both to General Hooker and 
President Lincoln, to attack the Confederate army while it was 
effecting this dangerous change of front But they did not at the 
moment understand each other, nor the object of an attack. 
Hooker, foreseeing his adversary's movement, wished to \ 


a counter evolution, and by this threat arrest Lee's march. This 
Lincoln refused. ** In case you find Lee coming to the north of 
the Rappahannock," President Lincoln wrote to General Hooker, 
" I would by no means cross to the south of it. I would not take, 
any risk of being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half 
over a fence, and liable to be torn by dogs, front and rear, without 
a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other." 

When the news reached Washington that the heads of Lee's , 
columns were emerging on the upper Potomac, while the rear 
guard was still to the south of the Rappahannock, the president 
wrote to General Hooker in his figurative style : " If the head of 
Lee's army is at Martinsburg, and the tail of it on the plank road 
between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be 
very slim somewhere, — could you not break him ? " 

It has been suggested that Lee's temerity came from the con- 
tempt which he had for his foe, whom he knew to be incapable of 
energetically assuming the offensive. This is, perhaps, a some- 
what exaggerated view. Assuredly without a certain amount of 
boldness a general is but half a soldier : a certain proportion is 
necessary for success in war. But did Lee truly expose himself to 
serious disaster, if we suppose his adversary to have been the man 
to profit by tl^e occasion given him? Perhaps he would have 
been obliged to renounce his campaign of invasion if Hill at 
Fredericksburg, or Longs treet at Culpepper, had been attacked, . ^ 
for in this case Ewell's corps of necessity must have fallen back. 
But a defeat of the united corps of Hill and Longstreet, suflS- 
ciently within reach to help each other, was not a success on 
which Hooker had a right to count. These two corps numbered 
50,000 men, two-thirds of the Confederate army ; Hooker had 
but 80,000. It was not, therefore, likely that 80,000 Federals 
would be able to beat the Confederates, when, at Chancellorsville, 
a much less number of Confederates had routed 120,000 Federals. 

No doubt such was Lee's opinion ; he reckoned that Longstreet 
and Hill, united if necessary, could repulse any attack whatever, 




while Ewell might continue to penetrate into the enemy's country. 
We do not deny that the whole strategic movement was a hardy 
one, but it does not follow that Lee conceived it out of contempt 
for his adversary. 

To return to our subject. In order to penetrate the mystery 
which veiled the Confederate plans, Hooker sent his cavalry 
against Stuart, whose horse, ranged before Blue Ridge, effec- 
tually masked Longstreet's position. After several reconnoitrings, 
Hooker, better informed, marched his 12th corps to Leesburg, 
■supported by the 5th at Aldie, and the 2nd at Thoroughfare Gap. 

Meanwhile Ewell had already entered Pennsylvania, and Lee 
was obliged to support him. Consequently, on June 24th, Long- 
street and Hill crossed the Potomac, the first at Williamsport, the 
second at Shepherds town, and directed their course towards 
Hagerstown. Stuart had to remain in Virginia to watch the 
mountain passes, observe the enemy, and worry him as much as 
possible, when, in his turn, he would go to the other side of the 
Potomac. As soon as the Federal army had re-entered Marj-land, 
he was to cross the river to the east or west of the Blue Ridge, and 
cover Lee's right wing, taking care to post up his chief in the 
movements of the enemy. The Confederate commander-in-chief 
had good reason to regret the absence of his cavahy during his 
forward march and the strategic operations following it. Had he 
had it at his disposal, the result of the Pennsylvania campaign 
would probably have been different 

General Imboden, according to orders, had destroyed the 
Baltimore and Ohio railway at several important points, and, on 
June r7th, took possession of the little town of Cumberland, in 
Maryland, Already, on the 14th, General Jenkins's cavalry 
brigade had pushed on to Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, and 
after having made an abundant requisition there, returned to 
Virginia with a great number of horses, herds of cattle, and a large 
quantity of victuals. This audacious dash, and the presence of 
Lee's army on the upper Potomac, threw the North into a state of 


consternation. A lively agitation spread through all the country 
to the City of New York ; but except that some militia hastily 
assembled at Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, no serious 
effort was made to dispute the territory. 

It was in the midst of this feverish agitation that Ewell crossed 
the Potomac on the 22nd of June, entered Pennsylvania on the 
23rd, and the same day became master of Chambersburg. Lee 
had given "very strict orders that the estates of individuals should 
be respected ; the Confederate soldiers were to pay for whatever 
they took. If the inhabitants objected to Confederate paper, they 
were to be offered a receipt for everything furnished by them. On 
the 27 th, all the Confederate army was reunited at Chambersburg. 

In an order of the day of the same date (June 27 th), Lee, after 
having testified his satisfaction at the good behaviour of his 
soldiers, added that there were nevertheless some exceptions, re- 
called to them on this subject that the reputation of the whole army 
was at stake, and that, as citizens of a civilised and Christian 
nation, they were bound to observe certain laws, as well in a 
hostile country as in their fatherland. " The commanding general,* 
said he, " considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, 
and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of the 
barbarous outrages upon the innocent and defenceless, and the 
wanton destruction of private property, that have marked the 
course of the enemy in our own country. Such proceedings not 
only disgrace the perpetrators and all connected with them, but 
are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army, and 
destructive of the ends of our present movements. It must be re- 
membered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we 
cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered 
without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has 
been excited by the atrocities of our enemy, and offending against 
Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favour and 
support our efforts must all prove in vain." 

The army showed itself worthy of the noble appeal addressed to 



Fit by the commaader. The conduct of the Confederate army in | 
K Pennsylvania offers a striking and beautiful contrast to that of any \ 
V Federal army in the South. | 

I In order to maintain his commuoications with the Valley of | 
' Virginia by Hagerstown and William sport, Lee sent Early's ' 
division to the east of South Mountain ; his intention was, by dis- 
quieting the enemy on that side, to draw him further from the 
Potomac. Early pushed on, therefore, to York, which he occupied, 
while the rest of Ewell's corps reached Carlisle. 

As soon as he was sure that Lee had entered on Federal soil, I 
Hooker also crossed the Potomac, at Edwards's Ferry, on the ' 
■ asth of June. He took up a position at Frederick, whence he 
I could cross South Mountain, and cut off Lee's communications, or 
I bear to the north towards the Susquehannah, if the Confederate 
general marched towards Harrisburg. Hooker's opinion was in 
favour of the first plan, and he wished to plant himself on Lee's 
line of retreat For this purpose he advanced his left wing to 
Middleton, and detached the 12 th corps, under General Slocum, I 
to Harper's Ferry. This coqjs was to join the garrison there, and j 
threaten Lee's flank by a movement on Chambersburg. General 
Hallock, Generalissimo of the United States armies, was opposed | 
to Harper's Ferry being abandoned. Owing to this difference, 
Hooker sent in his resignation. Od June 28th, General Meade | 
was nominated in his place. 

Many authors in the North seem to think that if Hooker's plan 
had been followed it would have had a powerful influence on the 
issue of the campaign. But note the facts which constitute an 
^^^ answer. That same day, on the 25th, the two corps of Loogstreet 
^^^K and Hill were between Hagerstown and Cliarabersburg, and if . 
^^^P Hooker's demonstration towards Hagerstown had happened, he y 
^^^ would have found there two-thirds of the Confederate array. 
r ' Since the crossing of the Potomac, Lee had had no news about 

I the Federal army, and for want of cavalry he knew nothing of its 

^^H movements. He was even ignorant that Hooker had crossed the 


river and was so near him, for Stuart, who had received orders in 
this case to rejoin him, gave no sign of life. The few cavalry 
regiments which remained with the bulk of the army formed, 
under Jenkins, Ewell's advanced guard towards Harrisburg. The 
others, under Imboden, scoured the country to the west of the 
Confederate line of march as scouts. 

Stuart had pushed his reconnoitring expeditions to Fairfax 
Court House, and finding the enemy had crossed the river, he 
himself also crossed it lower down, at Seneca Falls, on the 
29th. Passing by Westminster, he arrived at Carlisle, after having 
made the circuit of the Federal army, only to learn there the 
concentration of Ewell's troops at Gettysburg. 

The northern direction taken by the Federals Was the cause 
why Stuart could be of no use to his chief; he did not rejoin him 
till the very day of the battle of Gettysburg, having constantly 
had Meade's army between him and the Confederates. 

This was the only time Stuart was in fault, but his absence led 
to fatal results. Lee found it impossible to hide his movements, 
according to his custom, behind a cloud of flying squadrons, and 
to penetrate the designs of his adversary, thanks to the ubiquity 
and audacity of his cavalry. 

Supposing, then, that Hooker had not yet passed into Maryland, 
Lee was preparing to march on Harrisburg, when his scouts, on 
the night of June 29th, brought him the news that the Federal 
army was on this side the Potomac, and that its advanced-guard 
threatened to cut off the Confederates from their base of opera- 
tions. Lee was obliged immediately to change his arrangements. 
A glance at the map sufficiently indicates the urgency of this 
course. Without a moment's loss the Southern army was con- 
centrated at the east of the mountains, so as at the same time to 
menace the Federal flank and Baltimore, should the enemy march 
to the west of these same mountains. On the 29th, Hill and 
Longstreet were to advance from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, 
whilst Ewell was recalled from Caiiisle and directed to the same 


village. The Confederate columns advanced but slowly, owing to i 
the uncertainty which hovered over the Federal movements. Lee j 
could not, because of Stuart's absence, be sure the enemy w; 
near him. Had Stuart remained with the bulk of the army, the i 
Southern chief would have known of the Federal march, and 
hastened to occupy Gettysburg before Meade could outstrip him. 
However this may be, the latter marched northwards to cover 
Baltimore, and hinder Lee from crossing the Susquehannah. 

Meanwhile the Federal general intercepted a despatch from 
President Davis to Lee. The latter had suggested that Beauregard 
could make a demonstration in the direction of Culpepper, thus 
threatening Washmgton, and so singularly embarrass the move- 
ments of the Northern array. Davis answered that he had not 
enough troops to execute this plan. The seizure of this despatch, 
ftimishing Meade with a proof that he had nothing to fear for 
Washington, permitted him to act more vigorously. Strange 
fatality ! a second time the Confederate cause lost so much 
I through an intercepted despatch I 

The Northern army, on the authority of its commander, consisted 
of from 95,ooo to 100,000 men, and it had 300 guns. Lee, after ■ 
deducting detachments left to protect his communications, had 
only 60,000 men. 

Learning, on the 29th, that Lee was east of South Mountain, 
Meade sent his right wing to Manchester, on a plateau which 
separates the basin of the Monocacy from that of the Chesapeake, 
his head quarters being at Taneytown, his centre at Two Taverns 
and Hanover, and his left at Emmetsburg. The same day the 
Federal cavalry, under General Euford, acting as scouts, occupied 
Gettysburg, Two Confederate 'divisions, under Hill, bivouacked, 
on the night of the jot'h of June, six or seven miles from Gettys- 
burg, on the road from Baltimore to Chambersburg, and Ewell 
passed the night at Heildershurg, on the road from CarUsIe, eight 
or nine miles from Gettysburg. By hastening somewhat, the 
Southern army would have been able to seize the heights of J 


Gettysburg, and events would have taken another turn. Had the 
Confederate cavalry been there to enlighten Lee's march, and 
indicate the vicinity of the enemy, Hill or Ewell could have 
easily been at Gettysburg twenty-four hours sooner, to occupy 
those fatal heights, before which their most valiant efforts were 
used in vain two days later. 

Thus each of the two armies, without suspecting that its 
adversary was marching to the same place, bore down on Gettys- 
burg : Lee to occupy it as a strategic point of the highest im- 
portance, which covered his line of retreat ; and Meade to 
maintain himself there with his left, till he should be able to 
dispose the remainder of his army on Pipe Creek, where he was 
preparing to receive Lee's blow. A great battle was about to 
take place, in spite of the two men who had to play the principal 
characters in it. Lee had no intention to risk the hazard of a 
pitched battle. Far from his base, having less soldiers and cannon 
than his adversary, knowing that in case of misfortune it would be 
impossible for him to fill up the gaps, it was his aim only to 
occupy temporarily the Federal territory, in order to economize 
the resources of exhausted Virginia, and, by the activity of his 
strategy, to keep on the alert the various Unionist corps, whether 
by compelling them to cover their principal towns, or by taking 
unawares their isolated detachments, or, finally, by surprising the 
badly guarded points of their long line of defence. He was 
ignorant that the enemy was so near him. According to the last 
news the Federals were at Frederick, intending to march on 
Hagerstown. It was to arrest this movement that he was con- 
centrating his army at Gettysburg. His orders had been so 
admirably obeyed that Ewell, coming from Carlisle on the north, 
Early from York on the east, and Hill from Chambersburg on 
the west, all reached Gettysburg at intervals on the same day, 
July I St. 

Meade, abandoning the project of his predecessor of marching 
by Boonsboro' Pass on the western slope of the mountains, 


on the contrary, was pushing his columns to the north, in order 
to keep Lee from the Susquehannah, and with the intention of 
fighting, should the Confederate general offer battle. An order of 
the day which he published on July ist, at Taneytown, before he 
knew that his advanced-guard was already seriously engaged at 
Gettysburg, is a proof of this. 





But the great struggle had already commenced. The fortuitous 
meeting of the two advanced-guards had brought about a collision 
which soon assumed the dimensions of a great battle. Lee was 
driven to an unwonted course by a combination of unforeseen 
circumstances. He had no more wish to fight than General 
Meade ; unless, at least, on a ground of his own choosing, and 
yet now, these two commanders, in spite of themselves, for neither 
had a design of selecting Gettysburg as the place of their rencontre, 
were about to measure their strength with each other, and commit 
to the hazard of an unforeseen battle, the destinies of their 
respective causes. 

Gettysburg is a small town in Pennsylvania, situated in a valley 
where several roads cross. A short distance off, south of the 
town, rises a height, running north and south, but inclining 
suddenly to the east on approaching Gettysburg. On its summit 
is a cemetery ; whence it bears the name of Cemetery Hill. 
Opposite and to the west of the town, another flight of hills 
extends, parallel to the former, but lower, named Seminary Ridge. 
Further still to the west, in a country somewhat uneven, flows a 
little water-course, Willoughby Run. In the same direction, nearly 
ten miles distant, the blue peaks of South Mountain branch off 
On the morning of July ist, General Lee had just emerged from 
these mountains by the village of Cashtown, marching direct on 



Gettysbui^, when Hill, who commanded the van, found himself 1 
suddenJy in the presence of the hostile columns at Willoughby ' 
Run. It was the cavalry of General Buford, who preceded the 
ist corps of Federal infantry. Hill had no difficulty in driving it 
berore him to the first houses in Gettysburg. At 10 o'clock, a.m.. 
General Reynolds marched his cavalry to Buford's assistance, and 
occupied Seminary Ridge. A ball struck him as he was ranging 
his men in order of battle. In him Meade lost one of his best 
and most energetic division generals. His soldiers, led by General 
Doubleday, avenged the death of their commander by a well- 
conducted charge, making the Southern General Archer a prisoner, 
together with a part of his brigade. 

Hill, however, coming to the succour of his side, put 10 line 
14,000 men, and drove back the Unionists. To both parties 
reinforcements flowed in. Howard, with the Federal nth corps, 
airived on the ground at midday, and took the command. The 
Federals had at least 20,000 infantry. Ewell, who was coming 
from Carlisle, hastened forward at the report of cannon, and 
emerged on the ground from the north, shortly after noon, with 
Rodes's division ; Early's followed. The arrival of these rein- 
forcements increased the Confederates to 22,000 men. Rodes 
assaulted the Federal flank, and the combat was very sharp. Hill 
at the same moment attacked the enemy's front It already 
began to waver when Early appeared, and, by a magnilicent 
charge, completed the work, as regarded the t tth corps, the whole 
Federal line being throivn into disorder, Howard was driven 
through and beyond the village. The general had had the 
prudence to leave one of his divisions in reserve on the top of 
Cemetery Hill. Thanks to this intact nucleus he could rally his 
troops ; and thanks in particular to the falling night the batde 

Against Early's opinion, who wished to take the heights without 
losing a moment, Ewel! and Hill judged it most prudent to await 
the morning, Johnson and Anderson's divisions, each forming 


one-third of their respective corps, had not yet come; the 
positions occupied by the enemy seemed formidable, and it was 
not known whether there were any reserves behind the Federal 
troops they had just fought. Further, the success they had gained 
in the conflict had cost them dear. 

They resolved, therefore, to be content with having completely 
defeated two corps of the Union army, with having taken 5000 
prisoners and several guns. It is easy for us, after the event, and 
with our knowledge of all that had passed, to see that they let 
their on6 great opportunity escape. But having only the facts 
under their eyes to guide them, the resolution they came to was 
wise and sensible. 

General Lee had sent orders to Hill to continue the pursuit ; but 
when he arrived in person he found Hill had left off, and recalled 
his troops ; the general-in-chief, therefore, at that advanced hour 
was compelled to postpone any further movement till the next 

As for General Meade, he had just ordered a concentration on 
Pipe Creek, when he heard of the Confederate attack on Gettys- 
burg and the death of Reynolds. He at once sent General 
Hancock to take the command, enjoining him to let him know 
whether, in his opinion, the Gettysburg position was one in which 
to accept battle. Hancock arrived on the spot after the fight had 
ended. He placed his troops, examined the position, and sent 
Meade a report counselling him to concentrate all his army at 
Gettysburg. Truth to speak, after what had just happened, there 
was nothing else to do, except he chose to give up the palm of 
victory to his adversary without further resistance. Generals 
Sickles and Slocum arrived on the ground at night, and occupied 
the positions there assigned them, while Meade hastened the 
arrival of the rest of his army in the night between the ist and 
2nd of July, and in the morning of the 2nd. 

Whatever may have been Lee*s original plan, he was now in 
the presence of all the Federal army, and had come to blows with 



It was hardly possible to refuse battle. To witlidraw from it 

foutd have been to leave to the enemy all the mora! results of a 

iBctory, To beat a retreat before an enemy superior in cumbers 

an easy thing ; to maintain his stand and feed his army 

Pla a hostile country, without getting the master)' of so formidable 

1 adversary, presented great dangers. On the other hand, the 

Northern Virginian array had never been in a better condition ; 

fttie struggle of the preceding day, which had destroyed the fourth 

f'of the Federal forces, appeared to augur favourably, and in case of 

pa decisive triumph the fruits of victory promised to be greater 

'" than ever. The North and its great cities would be at the mercy 

of the conqueror, who would thus neutralise the Federal successes 

in the west, and throw the Washington Governraeni into a state of 

consternation. There was no room to hesitate ; he must fight. 

During this eveniag and the following night, Lee made use of 
all the means at his disposal to get an account of Meade's force 
and the positions he occupied. Unfortunately, Stuart and his 
cavalry had not yet come. To the south of Gettysburg, where the 
last houses end, and overhanging the little town, the ground rises 
abruptly, and stretches in a southern direction, terminating suddenly 
with a height called Round Top. The cemetery on the eleva- 
tion nearest Gettysburg has given its name to this range of hills. 
Just where it touches the village the elevated ground turns sharply 
west, nearly at right angles to its former direction. On this part 
of the heights, termed Cap Hill, the Federal right was drawn up. 
The i2th corps there took position, then the ist and nth corps 
behind the town. On their left were the 5th, and, and 3rd corps. 
The 6th did not appear till late next day. These positions 
were taken by Meade in the order in which his troops arrived on 
the battle-field, in the night between July ist and and, and in 
the morning of the latter day. His array numbered ioo,ooq 

The Confederate commander was joined, during the night, by 
Johnson's division, which he placed to the extreme left of Kwell's . 


corps, and facing Slocum*s. Ewell's corps, forming the Confederate 
left, was prolonged through the village, and was to assist Hill in 
the centre ; Anderson's division was on Hill's right. Beyond 
came Longstreet's corps, with the divisions of MacLaws and 
Hood, forming the right of Lee's army. Stuart, who at length 
arrived from Carlisle with his cavalry, had to station himself on 
the left. 

More than half of July 2nd had passed before Lee had finished 
all his preparations. During the morning nothing of importance 
took place, except an artillery duel towards the left, between 
Johnson and the troops opposed to him. f^either of the two 
adversaries cared to begin the attack. Lee had said in^ his report 
that, unless attacked, he would not deliver battle so far from his 
base. Meade has since confessed that he wished to remain on the 
defensive. But the Federals had this great advantage — an easy 
communication with the rest of the country, while Lee was sur- 
rounded by a hostile population, at a distance from his magazines, 
and the districts whence he drew his supplies. He must therefore 
attack or retreat. The latter course, as already indicated, was 
inadmissible. He saw himself, therefore, compelled to attack. 

General Meade, it would appear, thought of taking the offen- 
sive against the Confederate left, but gave up this idea on the 
advice of Generals Warren and Slocum. On the Confederate 
right Longstreet was preparing to attack. On this side the 
Federal lines were posted in advance, 11 00 yards at the most, 
beyond Cemetery Ridge, and occupied heights less elevated than 
the principal chain. Here was stationed Sickles's corps, the 3rd ; 
it thus formed the Federal left. Longstreet, supported by a part 
of Hill's corps, made on it a vigorous assault. The conflict was 
sharp, and, although Sickles was supported by Hancock on his 
right, and Sykes, with the 5 th corps, on his left, he was compelled 
to yield, and retire with great loss. Sykes, however, was able to 
maintain his ground at Round Top, while Meade, hastily sum- 
moning the 6th corps, with detachments from the ist and 12th, 


■ re-fonned h 

I Loogstreefi 


re-formed his line on the crest of the principal chain, and arrested 
Longstreefs progress. 

The whole Federal left had been driven from its position, which 
the Confederates occupied. Meanwhile, Ewell, with the left wing, 
was preparing to make a vigorous onset on the enemy fronting 
him, but the attack came too lale to hinder Slocum sending 
reinforcements to Sickles, Thus it happened that, for want of 
united action, the Confederates obtained no serious advantage, 
although the fight did not eiid till night, when Johnson had 
carried a part of the hostile works by assault, and Early had 
driven the Federal lines to Cemetery Hill. 

Darkness overtook the two armies, and though Lee's successes 
were not so marked this day as the evening before, they were still 
considerable. A wing of the Federal army had been driven back 
with immense loss ; his own troops were actually placed so as to 
be able to attack the principal positions of the enemy, the very 
key of the field of battle, and if they became masters of it, the 
Federals were done for. His own loss, though great, had in 
nowise weakened his soldiers' moral force. General Meade has 
confessed that in those two days he bad already lost 20,000 men. 
The Confederate loss amounted to i?,ooo at the most Every-. 
thing seemed to indicate that the Southerners would finally 
triumph, notivith standing the strong position held by the Northern 
army, its numerical superiority, and its much more powerful 
artillery. The best proof of this is, that that same night the 

1 Federal commander held a" council of war, in which the question 
was seriously discussed whether or not to retreat. Several 
members of the council voted for retreat, and General Butterfield 
testifies that Meade was far from approving the decision of the 
majority, who voted for the maintenance of their position, at the 
risk of having to renew the conflict on the morrow. 
Lee made but little change in his order of battle for July 3rd. 
Pickett's division of Longslreet's corps, having arrived during ihi 
night, brought him 4000 soldiers who had not yet been engaged. 




The Confederate line was of great extent, which rendered it 
difficult to make an assault of all the combined forces on the 
Federal positions. The absence of unity had already prevented 
Lee, on the 2nd, from seizing the victory which seemed within his 
reach. He therefore directed all his efforts and took all pre- 
cautions to hinder the same thing from being reproduced on the 
morrow, but, as the event proved, with little success. The enemy 
occupied Round Top, and thus his flank was strongly protected 
Consequently, Longstreet's attack was to be directed against that 
part of the heights between Round Top and Cemetery Hill, which 
formed the left centre of Meade*s position. It was there that 
Hancock commanded. Meanwhile, Ewell was to pursue the 
advantage gained by Johnson on the right flank of the Federals. 
Heth's division, and two brigades under Wilcox, from Hill's corps, 
were directed to support Longstreet, while to the rest of the 
Confederate forces was confided the care of engaging the attention 
of those troops of the enemy facing them. 

At dawn, Ewell was to follow up his success of the previous 
evening by attacking the Federal right anew. But he was antici- 
pated. The troops detached the evening before from Slocum's 
corps, to go to the help of Sickles and Sykes, returned during the 
night, and fell on the advanced works of which Johnson had 
become master the day previously. An eager contest ensued, and 
lasted several hours. Johnson repulsed their assaults without 
being able to subdue the enemy. Twice he charged the Federal 
line, and twice he had to recoil. 

While this was being transacted on the left, where the combat 
went on till noon, nothing was stirring anywhere else along the 
line. This unlooked for assault on Ewell undoubtedly deranged 
Lee's plan, according to which the two wings were to attack 
simultaneously. Longstreet unfortunately had not yet finished his 
preparations for the assault, and the artillery was being massed on 
Seminary Ridge. It was a fine July day, the weather was warm 
and bright, and as the fire ceased in the front of Johnson's 


247 I 

division, everything became tranquil. It was difficult, wlien 
glancing over this valley and village, so peaceful, l>oth inundated 
with sunlight, to believe that the quiet was but the precursor of 

sanguinary tempest which would render this obscure place ' 
mperishably renowned. 

Seeing the impossibility of succeeding against the Federal right, 

liCe changed his plan, and resolved to attack the enemy's centre. 1 

Jetween one and two o'clock everything was at length ready, 

2 hundred and fifteen guns covered Seminary Ridge. Pickett's 

division, which Lee constituted the nucleus of his column of 

Battack, was in position. At a given signal the artillery opened 

■ fire on the opposite heights. Meade, for want of room, had been 

able to bring into Une only 70 or 80 cannon ; but, having more 

L than 200 in reserve, as one piece was dismounted it was easy for 

him to replace it by another. This artillery duel lasted incessantly 

I for two hours. Gradually on the Federal side the fire slackened, till 

I it ceased entirely. At this moment Lee gave the signal to attack. 

General Picketfs division, supported on the left by Heth's 

[ division under the orders of General Pettigrew, and on the right 

I by General Wilcox with two brigades, was charged to take the 

k Federal positions. Pickett's division was composed of the iliie 

J- of the veterans of Virginia. The attacking column altogether 

counted 13,000 bayonets. Thirteen hundred yards of plain and 

hill separated it from the hostile lines. The advance was made 

with admirable firmness. WTien the columns of attack reached 

the Emmetsburg road, the Confederate batteries in the bottom 

of the valley became silent, so as not to fire on their own infantry. 

The enemy received them with repeated discharges of grape-shot, 

which carried off entire ranks of the Confederates, Without 

wavering, without hesitating, the line continued to advance, 

forcing, even from their enemies, cries of admiration. Suddenly, 

when they touched the summit of the heights, all the line of 

Federal infantry fired. Pettigrew's division, in spite of all the 

_effort5 of its chief, left the ranks, and its officers were powerless 


to rally the men. Disorder also began to appear in Wilcox's 
brigades, so that Pickett's division found itself alone, its flanks 
exposed to an oblique fire from right to left, and the head of its 
columns torn by bombshells and grape-shot. But nothing could 
arrest it Its commander, unceasingly exciting his men by voice 
and gesture, led them through this shower of cannon-balls right on 
the enemy's works. The Federal line was broken^ the guns 
taken, and the troops that had defended them routed. Cries of 
triumph announced to their comrades that they had swept all 
before them. In the midst of clouds of smoke. General Lee, with 
his telescope, could distinguish the blue flag of Virginia floating 
over Cemetery Ridge. 

But this dearly-bought success was as short as glorious. The 
Federals, thrown back on their second line, re-formed there, and 
rained down on the works just snatched from them a terrible 
fire. Pickett at this supreme moment was alone ; the divisions 
which should have supported him were not at their post. Had 
he at that instant been supported and seconded, this day would 
have added another disaster to those already so numerous of the 
army of the Potomac. But this heroic charge had been in vain. 
General Hancock displayed great courage and rare ability in 
repairing his repulse. He hurled on the two flanks of Pickett's 
division all the troops available, while on the front of this devoted 
band he kept up an incessant fire. The struggle was short, but 
terrible. All that the courage of despair could do was done. Of 
the three brigade-generals : Garnett was slain, Armistead mortally 
wounded, Kemper wounded and taken prisoner. Of fourteen 
superior officers, one only returned. Nearly three-fourths of the 
division had fallen, and Pickett at length was compelled to think 
about saving the rest. He sounded a retreat, and the remnants of 
this heroic column slowly retired within the Confederate lines. 
General Wilcox, who had not sufficiently supported Pickett's charge, 
marched in his turn to take the heights, but his men were also 
repulsed with loss. 


=49 , 

The Federals likewise had dearly paid for their victory ; many of J 
B their generals, among others, Hancock and Gibbon, were wounded \ 

1 several thousands of their men were disabled. 

From Seminary Ridge, where he was, Lee had followed the 
ihargc. At the sight of his soldiers driven back from the heights 

; bit the ends of his fingers, the oa!y sign of anxiety he ever 
Then, an instant after, feeling the importance of the crisis, 
e went personally into the midst of the soldiers in disorder, to 
' rally them, addressing to them words of encouragement and affec- 
tion, without the least display of temper, without despondency. 

" All this," said he, " will come right in the end. We'll talk it 
over afterwards, but in the meantime all good men must rally." 
He inquired of the wounded what were their injuries. He 
encouraged those who were only slighdy grazed to bandage their 
sores, and seize a rifle at so critical a moment. Nearly all 
responded to this appesi, and resumed their places Jn the ranks 
with cries of enthusiasm. Many of the more seriously wounded 
cheered him as he passed. 

" Even in this moment of anguish," said Colonel Fremantle, 
who took part in the battle, " with one voice the magnificent charge 
of Pickett was admired, and the soldiers did not cease to assure 
me of their unshaken faith in their general-b-chief. ' We have not 
lost confidence in our old man I ' 'This day's work will do him no 
harm 1 ' ' Unck Robert wiligct us into Washington yel—yoa bet he 
will! ' — such were some of the exclamations which I heard round 

The Confederate soldiers returned in a mob, pursued by the 
growling of hostile cannon, which swept all the valley and the 
slopes of Seminary Ridge with balls and shells. Although exposing 
himself with the utmost indifference, Lee advised Colonel 
Fremantle, the English officer already cited, to get under cover, 
adding ; " This has been a sad day for us, Colonel— a sad day — 
but we can't always expect to gain- victories." 

But when General Wilcox announced ta him that he also had 


be©n repulsed, Lee showed himself truly sublime. The former 
could scarce speak, so much moved was he in giving an account 
of his losses. Lee, taking him by the hand, said sweetly, so as to 
console him : " Never mind, General ; all this has been my fault 
It is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it in 
the best way you can." His composure, his even temper, did not 
fail him a moment. This imperturbable serenity communicated 
itself to the soldiers, who were lying under shelter from the fire, 
arranged in order of battle, on the reverse side of the hill, in an 
edge of the wood, where Lee placed them as they arrived. 

Foreseeing the possibility of an attack by the Federals, Long- 
street, whose two divisions, those of MacLaws and Hood, had 
not been engaged, held himself ready to receive them. " The 
preparations were made," said Colonel Fremantle, " with less 
noise and confusion than at a review." 

But General Meade, although he had successfully repulsed the 
assault on his lineSj had suffered too much in the battle of the 3rd, 
as well as in the struggles of the two preceding days, to push his 
advantage further. In spite of the opinion of many of his best 
officers, he abstained from all offensive movement, and he did well : 
for Longstreet awaited him wdth his two divisions and numerous 
guns, all ready to receive him. The Confederates earnestly hoped 
that Meade would advance against them, but he did nothing of the 
kind. The rest of the 3rd passed quietly, and at night the Federals 
were content to occupy the lines they had held all the day. 

The Confederate army had suffered much 'the last day, and, 
when Pickett's assault was repulsed, Lee did not wish to risk an 
attack on the Federal positions. During the night Ewell's corps 
retired from the town and posted itself on Seminary Ridge, where, 
next day, all the Confederate forces were reunited, Lee thus 
remained on the 4th of July, hoping his adversary would attack 
him. But Meade kept on the defensive, and the Southern chief 
had leisure to occupy himself in the transport of his wounded, the 
collection of arms left on the field of battle, and the despatch of 


his trains and baggage, as well as his 4000 prisoners, towards the 
Potomac. Not wishing to hazard a new assault on the Federal lines, 
feeling how difficult il would be for him to feed his men in a hostile 
country, in the presence of an enemy superior in number, and his 
ammunition beginning to fail, Lee determined to beat a retreat In 
the night of the 4th the Confederate troops began to defile towards 

le Potomac On the 6lh and 7tb they reached Hagerstown. 

During the whole of the 4th, Meade showed no sign of dis- 
quieting his adversary. Truth to tell, the Federal army was not in 
a state to undertake anything. Its losses during the three days 
amounted to 23,190 men. The Confederates had lost from 18,000 
to 20,000, killed, wounded, and prisoners ; among the latter many 
were wounded. But while the official Federal reports acknow- 
ledge a loss of 23,190 men, killed, wounded, and prisoners, their 
army was so demoralized and dispersed by this three days' struggle, 
that the commanders of corps, at a council of war held by Meade 
on the night of the 4th, asserted that the army scarcely presented 
52,000 efficient soldiers. One of the questions discussed at this 
council was, whetkfr the Federal army should heat a retreat; and 
General Biney testifies that it was decided to wait twenfy-four hours 
longer, merely to collect tlie fullest information as to Lee's movements. 
And yet Gettysburg has been called a Confederate Waterloo ! 
Lee was not vanquished, but he had not succeeded, and so far 
Gettysburg a Federal victory. 

Though diminished in number, the Southern army had lost 
nothing of its moral energy. The proof of this is that Lee waited 
upwards of thirty hours before retirmg, thus showing that he was 
ready to recommence if the enemy took the offensive. 

No one can pretend to say what would have happened if the 
Federals had assaulted the Confederate positions, but to conclude 
that Lee's army would have been put to flight appears to us more 
than hazardous. Far from being downcast or discouraged, the 
Confederate soldiers burned to take an immediate revenge. 
Several foreign officers who took part in the battle testily that the 


behaviour of the soldiers was all that could be desired. Longstreet 
was strong enough, at the head of Tiis two divisions, supported by 
his powerful artillery, to deal the enemy, should he attack, as 
terrible a blow as that which General Pickett had just experienced. 
For that matter, General Meade's own testimony confirms our 
view of the case. When he appeared before the war-committee 
he said : " My opinion is, now^ that General Lee evacuated that 
position, not from the fear that he would be dislodged from it by any 
active operations on my part, but that he was fearful that a force 
would be sent to Harper's Ferry to cut off his communications. . . 
That was what caused him to retire." 

On the question being asked : ** Did you discover, after the 
battle of Gettysburg, any symptoms of demoralization in Lee's 
army ? " Meade rephed : " No, sir, I saw nothing of the kind.'* 
To us, indeed, there is no reason why Lee should have had any 
serious fears on the subject of his army, which, after all its losses, 
still numbered 50,000 men, who for the most part had served 
several campaigns, and at whose head, as experience had proved, 
he could hold his own against any Federal anny whatever. At 
Chancellorsville he had defeated an army more numerous than 
that of Meade with less men. It was the failure of supplies which 
constrained the Southern chief to retire, and especially the want of 
ammunition. The three days' conflict at Gettysburg had nearly 
exhausted his stock of powder, cartridges, and balls. The diffi- 
culty of re-victualling was becoming very great, for the enemy was 
approaching on all sides, and threatened his rear. 

All these motives contributed to the determination which Lee 
took. The Confederate troops passed the evening and night of 
the 3rd, as well as the day of the 4th of July, drawn up in battle 
array on Seminary Ridge, to await the Federal attack with firm 
foot. They employed this time in burying their dead, gathering 
up arms and debris^ and sending on in advance their carriages, 
waggons, and wounded. On the night of the 4th, the retreat 
commenced by two roads, those of Fairfield and Chambersburg, 


without any haste, disorder, or confusion. The rear-guard did 
not leave Gettysburg till the morning of the 5 th. 

In spite of the dust which covered them, of the bandages which 
enveloped their wounds, of their fatigue, the soldiers of Lee 
marched resolutely, still full of fire and dash, ready, at the first 
order from their chief, to face about, and cross swords again with 
the adversary, animated by the same ardour as when they advanced 
as conquerors. 

The task before the Southern chief was nevertheless very difficult. 
His army was inferior in number to that of his enemy. The 
Government of the North had under its control the railways 
coming from the East, which led to the Upper Potomac, and could 
tlius, independently of Meade's army, place a considerable force 
across the line of the Confederate retreat. Further, his march was 
encumbered by 4,000 prisoners, and a long file of provision and am- 
munition waggons extending over fourteen miles. The road he had 
to travel was long; there was a fear that Meade would try to intercept 
him from the river. To lead his army through all these dangers, and 
conduct it safely back to the soil of Virginia, not only required very 
great skill, but also great moral courage. Happily the soldiers' con- 
fidence in their illustrious commander did not weaken ; and, as 
long as they knew he was at their head, they felt assured of issuing 
safe and sound out of all trials. 

On the morning of the 5th, as soon as Meade discovered Lee's 
retreat, Sedgwick's corps was sent in pursuit The bulk of the 
army took the Frederick road. But Sedgwick stopped at Fairfield 
without pushing on further, Meade not wishing to run any risk. 
The Confederates slowly defiled through Cashtown and Fairfield, 
preceded by their conveyances, and reached Hagerstown without 
being disquieted. Meanwhile the Federal general-in-chief, who 
had been joined by several thousand new troops, fresh arrived 
from Washington, followed Lee at a distance by the roundabout way 
of Frederick, and on the 12 th appeared before the Confederate 


The latter, arriving at Hagerstown on the 7 th, found themselves 
stopped by a new obstacle. The drenching rains of the last few 
days had so increased the waters of the Potomac that it was not 
fordable. The bridges had been carried away by the current, 
or destroyed by flying squadrons of the enem/s cavalry. Being 
unable to cross the river, Lee selected a strong position, his 
right resting on the Potomac at FalHng Waters, and his left at 
Hagerstown, so as to cover the fords at William sport and Falling 
Waters. From the 7th to the 13th, his position was critical. 
Ammunition failed him, and the provisions brought back from 
Pennsylvania were coming to an end. The rise of the waters 
hindered the arrival of anything from Virginia, while Meade's 
whole army was approaching. On the 12th the Federals appeared 
in sight. That day, and the next, Lee expected to be attacked. 
But far from that, Meade only thought of throwing up earthworks 
and intrenching himself, so redoubtable seemed Lee to him. At 
that critical moment, however anxious he might be, and there was 
much to be troubled about, Lee let no emotion appear. Having 
behind him a river that had overflowed, before him a foe to whom 
reinforcements incessantly came, his position was becoming truly 
perilous. But the Southern chief lost neither his own self-reHance 
nor the confidence inspired in him by his soldiers, but appeared 
ready for every event. 

While Meade hesitated, Lee reconstructed his pontoons, and, 
the waters having abated and the river become fordable on the 
13th, the artillery and conveyances crossed the Potomac in the 
night between that day and the 14th. The state of the roads was 
so execrable that the troops did not arrive at the bridge till after 
sunrise on the 14th. It was an hour past noon before they had 
all crossed and the last bridge was broken. During all the long 
hours the defile lasted, Lee, on horseback, under a deluge of rain, 
sometimes galloping from the ford to the bridge, sometimes re- 
turning, sometimes motionless, watched over everything ; he him- 
self remained impassive. But these days of extreme fatigue, these 


nights of watching and anxiety, ended by exhausting him. When 
the greater part of the rear-guard had, without accident, crossed the 
bridge, shaken by the current, on which, for a long time, he had 
fixed an anxious gaze, he could not suppress a cry of relief, as if a 
great weight were lifted from his heart. Noticing his exhaustion, 
General Stuart offered him a little coffee. Lee drank it at a 
draught " Never," said he, returning the glass, " have I drank 
anything so delicious." 

The enemy in no way opposed the passage, which was success- 
fully accomplished without any loss, except two cannon which 
stuck fast in the mud, and which had to be left for want of horses, 
and some tardy stragglers. 

On the 1 2th, General Meade had submitted it to a council of 
war, whether or not to attack the Confederate army. Although 
General French with 8000 men, besides various corps of new 
levies, had reinforced the army, the council nearly unanimously 
pronounced against an attack, a decided proof of the state in which 
the Northern troops were. On the morning of the 14th, seeing 
the Southern works abandoned, Meade sent his cavalry in pursuit, 
but without result, some insignificant skirmishes excepted. 

Great was the irritation in the North, when it was known that 
the Southern army had re-crossed into Virginia ; there had been 
no doubt that Meade would succeed in destroying the Con- 
federates : hence the reaction against those charged with the 
conduct of the campaign was very passionate. 

Lee, after having passed the Potomac, halted near Winchester, 
where he gave his men several days' rest. On the 17 th a strong 
detachment of hostile cavalry crossed the river at Harper's Ferry, 
and advanced into the neighbourhood of Martinsburg. General 
Fitz-Lee attacked it at Keameysville, and drove it to the other 
side of the Potomac, inflicting on it great loss. 

In consequence of Meade's movements, who had crossed the 
river at Berlin some days after, and marched along the eastern 
side of the Blue Ridge, Lee led his army through Front Royal 


towards the line of the Rappahannock. This retreat happened with- 
out striking incidents, except an attempt made by a strong column 
of the enemy to surround the Confederate rear-guard, by suddenly 
penetrating into the Valley through Manassas Gap. But it had 
not the desired success, and, Meade finally abandoning a 
harassing course, the Confederates reached the Rappahannock on 
August I St. 

Shortly after, President Davis decreed, all over the country, 
a day of humiliation and public prayer. Lee, on this occasion, 
published the following beautiful order of the day : 

** Head-quarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 

" General Orders, No. Zt,, " ^"^ust 13th, 1863. 

" The President of the Confederate States has, in the 
name of the people, appointed the 21st day of August as a day of 
fasting, humiliation, and prayer. A strict observance of the day is 
enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this army. All military 
duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended. 
The commanding officers of brigades are requested to cause 
divine service, suitable to the occasion, to be performed in their 
respective commands. 

" Soldiers ! we have sinned against Almighty God. We have 

forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, 

haughty, and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the 

defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes, that our times 

are in His hands ^ and we have relied too much on our own arms 

for the achievement of our independence. God is our only refuge 

and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us 

confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher 

courage, a purer patriotism, and more determined will ; that He 

will convert the hearts of our enemies ; that He will hasten the 

time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and 

that He will give us a name and a place among the nations of 

the earth. 

" R. E. Lee, General." 


2$r 1 


In fact, the campaign was finished. For several weeks the two 
armies remained stationary, ohserving each other, on the two banks 
of the Rappahannock. In September, Lee had to detach Long- 
srreet with one-third of the army to carry help to General Bragg 
in Tennessee. Meade likewise sent a part of the Federal troops 
into South Carolina, 

Although the Federal army by this means was weakened, it still I 
remained much superior in numbers to Lee's. Nevertheless, the \ 
latter resolved to strike a blow, the effect of which would be to 
drive back the enemy beyond the line of the Rappahannock, till 
the season of military operations was past. To this end he en- 
deavoured so to manccuvre as to turn the right wing of his adver- 
sary, and place his own army between the Federals and their 
capital. He sought, according to his own words, to compel Meade 
to measure his strength with him in a pitched battle, but it was 
important to each, before coming to blows, to have the advantage 
in position. 

Rapid though Lee's movements were, an affair between the out- , 
posts on the loth of October, at Culpepper Court House, revealed 
to the Federal chief the danger he ran. On the nth he aban- 
loned the line of the Rappahannock, and his cavalry, under Buford, 

,s driven back by Fitz-Lee's division to Brandy Station. General 
Lee followed Meade to Warrenton, where he concentrated liis 
forces on the 13th. Meade's movements betrayed embarrassment 
and hesitation. For a moment he thought of disputing the passage 
of the Upper Rappahannock at Warrenton Springs and Free- 
man's Ford, but gave it up. Meanwhile, Lee kept advancing. 
Ewell chased the Federals before him, and drove General Warren 
across Cedar Run, then he hastened, by going through Auburn 
to join Hill at Bristoe Station. Lee thus hoped to forestall Meade 
and seize on tlie railway, and so bar the road to Washington. But 
the Northern commander, by marching all the 14th, arrived at 
Centreville, where he reckoned on delivering battle, having, should 
fortune not smile on him, the further resource of easily takin 


shelter within the lines of the capital. At Bristoe, Hill found only 
'the Federal rear-guard. Too feeble, in Longstreefs absence, to 
attack positions so strong as those of Centreville, and perceiving 
no advantage in making a demonstration on one of the Federal 
flanks, the only result of which would have been to cause Meade 
to retire within the lines of Washington, with no profit to the 
Confederates, Lee, on the i8th, withdrew, and, first destroying the 
railway, returned to his old positions on the Rappahannock. 

On the 7 th of November, Meade re-appeared on the northern 
bank of the river ; but Lee, having no wish to engage in a pitched 
battle, retired behind the Rapidan, and thus Meade took again his 
old positions. His army amounted to from 60,000 to 70,000 men, 
that of the Confederates from 30,000 to 33,000 men, many of 
them having neither shpes, nor blankets, nor cloaks, notwithstand- 
ing the inclemency of the month of December, as Lee pointed 
out in a letter to the minister of war. He complained bitterly of 
the destitution in which his brave soldiers were left 

On the 26th of November, Meade renewed his efforts to deal 
the Confederate army a decisive blow. Lee*s troops were dis- 
persed over a somewhat large extent of country. The impoverish- 
ment of all this district, and the difficulty of feeding an army, had 
rendered such a dispersion necessary. Nevertheless, all pre- 
cautions had been taken to concentrate the scattered detachments 
rapidly, in case of danger. Strong intrenchments had been raised 
in places naturally strong on the Mine Run, a tributary of the 
Rapidan, flowing from south to north. 

It was the first time Lee had made use of a system of parapets, 
formed of trunks of felled trees, behind which earth was heaped 
up \ the whole being impenetrable to cannon-balls. This system 
of defence became celebrated. 

At the news that the enemy was preparing to cross this river 
suddenly, in the hope of surprising him, Lee rapidly executed his 
movement of concentration, and when Meade, after some skir- 
mishes sufficiently sanguinary, found himself abruptly stopped at the 


passage of the Mine Run, he perceived that Lee's position was 
impregnable. The provisions brought by his soldiers were nearly 
exhausted, and the rainy season, so disastrous to an army in 
Virginia, was approaching. There was nothing for it, therefore, 
but to beat a retreat. This he did on the night of the ist of 
December. The Confederates, next morning, pursued him to the 
Rapidan, making some prisoners. This was the end of military 
operations in 1863. 

Such is a recapitulation of the campaign of Gettysburg. Lee's 
object at its commencement has been as much misunderstood as 
the after consequences have been exaggerated. We have men- 
tioned the causes which led to its conception. It has been 
proved that General Lee, at the beginning of the year, was neces- 
sarily compelled either to advance, or permit his adversary, 
after filling up the gaps in his army, to profit by the experience 
gained at the cost of two defeats, to throw himself on one or 
other of his flanks, and so repeat the campaign of the year pre- 
ceding. The ever-increasing inequality between the forces of the 
combatants, General Hooker receiving two men for every one 
that came to range himself under the Confederate standards, ren- 
dered inaction dangerous. The success gained at Chancellorsville 
could not produce all its results unless Lee assumed a vigorous 

After the strategic movements which forced Hooker to fill back 
at first on the line of the Rappahannock, then on that of the 
Potomac, the end which the Confederate army proposed to itself in 
penetrating to the heart of Pennsylvania has been indicated. There, 
in consequence of the absence of his cavalry, the Southern chief 
found himself unawares in the presence of the Union army, and 
almost compelled to give battle. The third day's assault at 
Gettysburg having been repulsed, the successes of the two pre- 
ceding days were neutralized, and a retreat into Virginia was 
necessitated. As to the army of the North, it had suflered too 
much to pursue its advantage : it was satisfied to post itself for 

s 2 


observation on the Rappahannock, while Lee detached a third of 
his forces to the help of the Confederates in the West 

This campaign, far from being the critical moment of the war, 
far from having a decisive influence on the result of the struggle, 
decided nothing. Its importance has been exaggerated, in conse- 
quence of the very natural effect of the consternation produced by 
Lee*s invasion of Pennsylvania. The North for some days was 
the prey of a universal panic, the South gave itself up to exag- 
gerated hopes. To those who were hourly expecting to see 
Baltimore, Philadelphia, or even New York, succumb to the 
invader, the news that he had experienced a check at Gettysburg 
seemed to announce the downfall of Confederate power. Both 
views, in fact, were equally false. Lee's want of success at Gettys- 
burg caused his army to suffer serious losses, cut short the summer 
campaign in Pennsylvania, and calmed the anxiety which the 
North felt on the subject of its graat towns. But, in fine, it is no 
less true that, in weighing the advantages acquired by the two belli- 
gerents, the greater part was retained by the Confederates. The 
loss inflicted on the Federal army reduced it to inaction for the 
remainder of the year, permitted Lee to maintain himself without 
disquiet on the Rapidan, and that with only a part of his army, 
and hindered the execution of the projected movement on Rich- 
mond. The invasion of the North kept the enemy's troops from 
Virginian soil during the harvest, relieved for a time the weight of 
charges under which its inhabitants groaned, and brought back a 
comparative abundance to the badly-provided commissariat of the 

The resources and number of the two armies, as well as the 
positions occupied by them, did not materially differ on the ist of 
August from what they were on the ist of June ; but the campaign 
against Richmond, which Hooker was preparing to undertake 
when Lee assumed the offensive, was no longer possible, and this 
for the South, was a positive gain of one year. If, on the contrary, 
Lee had remained on the defensive, he could not have reaped the 



same advantages. Without speaking of the dangers resulting from 
inaction, and the difficulty of providing for his army, very poorly 
indeed, and in an exhausted country, the Federals would only have 
had to turn its position in order to compel it either to deliver 
battle in the plaio, or retire to a more distant line of defence. 
Had he succeeded in a second battle of Chancellorsville, the 
situation would have been the same as after Lee's return to the 
Rappahannock, with this difference, that a large part of the most 
fertile lands of Virginia would have remained in the hands of 
the enemy, who would further have had leisure to disturb the 
Confederates at other points of the territory. 

Although thus the results of Gettysburg were indecisive, it 
might have been otherwise. If Lee had succeeded in his bold 
attempt, and overthrown the Federal army, taking its many guns 
00 Cemetery Hill, such a success would have been attended with 
immense consequences as regards the Confederates. With Peim- 
sylvania and Baltimore in the power of the enemy, the Federal 
Government must Jiave recalled General Grant from the West 
The campaign so fortunately inaugurated in the South-west by I 
the Federals would have been interrupted, and this course of 
events, the opposite of what happened, would probably have 
given a marked predominance to the peace party in the North, 
whence serious embarrassment for the administration of President 
Lincoln would have arisen. Such fruits would have resulted from a 
victory, and undoubtedly the thought of them influenced Lee's mind 
when the conflict occurred to him. For three long summer days 
victory oscillated in the balance, and fortune would have inclined 
in his favour had he once been able to make a simultaneous attack 
with all his forces on the Federal position. 

If Gettysburg were, as certain Northern writers affirm, a veritable 
Waterloo for the Southern cause, how did it happen that General 
Meade, at the head of his victorious army, did not pursue and 
crush the Confederate army? Was he not receiving continual 
remforcements ? Was he not, thanks to the many forces filling 


the intrenched camp at Washington, repairing his losses un- 
ceasingly? Why did he not, by river and by sea, of both of 
which he was master, penetrate to the heart of Virginia, and 
terminate the war by the capture of the Confederate capital ? 

It was to be otherwise: the colossal strife which for three 
years the army of Northern Virginia sustained against all the 
power of the North, with means so insufficient, and soldiers ever 
decreasing in number, was destined to offer another and final 
spectacle of incomparable grandeur. The two adversaries, ex- 
hausted at Gettysburg, took breath for a moment ; then the deadly 
combat began anew. The eminent man whose talents had so 
valiantly supported the Confederate cause in the East was to give 
a further and greater proof of his superiority, and offer, in the 
marvellous campaign of 1864-65, a model of military skilfulness. 




The Confederate troops had re-occupied their winter cantonments 
behind the Rapidan. Lee*s head-quarters during the autumn and 
winter were established in a wood on the southern slope of a 
high hill, Clarke's Mountain, some miles to the east of Orange 
Court House. Surrounded by his staff, he there led almost a 
family life. Those who had intercourse with him at that time are 
loud in their praises of his sweetness, and the perfect equilibrium 
of h ismoral qualities. 

The charm of his society was very great. Not a shade of 
pretension, the most perfect sincerity, the simplicity of a child ; the 
more one saw of him, the more one loved him, for, contrary to what 
generally happens, Lee was greater when near than when at a 

During those long weeks of inaction on the Rapidan, his 
soldiers learned to know him better. In the rough campaigns of 
the past two years the old warrior had shared their fatigues, and 
never once had he neglected to watch over them and assist their 
needs. He had led them under fire, exposing himself with the 
most perfect indifference ; but as much as possible he spared his 
men's lives, and often, to the displeasure of the civil authorities, 
he had insisted that, above all things, care should be taken of his 
veterans. These facts gradually came to their knowledge, and. 


from the division-general to the lowest drummer, Lee was adored. 
The whole army felt that this man, so undemonstrative, so simply 
clad, sleeping like the commonest soldier in his tent, having in the 
midst of the wood but a single blanket, was its guide, its protector, 
incessantly attentive to its welfare, jealous of its dearly-purchased 
fame, and always ready, as its commander and friend, to defend it 

This winter there arose, among the Confederate soldiers, a 
movement which often occurs in the United States, especially in 
the parts most recently colonized, and at certain times of the year. 
We speak of a certain fermentation, a certain religious excitement. 
The trials which the Southern populations had undergone, more 
especially the events experienced by the Northern Virginian army, 
its present forced inaction, all contributed to reawaken those 
religious ideas, always powerful with men of the old English or 
Scotch race. Continually one came across the affecting spectacle 
of old grey-bearded soldiers, devoutly kneeling in a circle, address- 
ing their humble prayers to Him who hitherto had so visibly 
protected them. A commander-in-chief educated in a European 
school would only have compassionately smiled at these sensa- 
tional assemblies, or have paid them no attention, regarding them 
as beneath his notice. Lee, on the contrary, contemplated the 
religious enthusiasm of his soldiers with a pleasure he did not 
conceal. He went to see them, talking the matter over with the 
chaplains, and lent the support of his authority to this good work, 
altogether joyful at witnessing the spread of religious sentiments 
in his army. The most remarkable feature of this illustrious 
soldier, the one most deeply . rooted in him, the one which 
regulated all others, was his love towards God. By the world 
this feeling was called love of duty ; but with Lee the word duty 
was only another name for the Divine will. To search out that 
will and execute it, — such was, from the first to the last moment 
of his life, the only aim of the great Virginian. 

Perhaps we delay too long in coming to the last great cam- 
paign of the war. But in order to thoroughly understand his 


I d 



xx>aduct in the last days of his public life, it is absolutely necessajy i 
to become imbued witli the idea that the heart of this man of I 
worth was profoundly convinced of the existence of a Providence 'J 
whose exalted wisdom rules ail things, and that he was resigned ■! 
beforehand to its impenetrable decrees. 

We are about to contemplate the spectacle of a courageous heart 
meeting adversity and disaster with perfect calm and unflinching 
resolution. Up to a certain point this impassivity could be attri- 
buted to the proud and valiant nature of the man. But a moment 
of trial approached, in which the courage of the soldier could 
avail nothing, in which it was no longer possible for human 
nature, finding its only support here below, not to lose courage 
entirely, and give up the struggle. In this decisive moment, Lee 
was still firm, and would not succumb. Few persons were in a 
position to explain whence came the absolute serenity of his soul, 
which, without illusion, could behold everything crumbling around 
him. Not only was it that the pride of the soldier did not yield, 
but he was also sustained by a sentiment much stronger than 
human courage : the consciousness of having done his duty, the 
inward assurance that he was protected by God, whose sublime 
goodness best knows what is for our weU-being. | 

The final struggle between the two armies still belonged to the 
fiiture. The veterans of the army of Northern Virginia kept stiU i 
guarding the line of the Rapidan, and their white-haired comman- 
der from his tent in the woods attentively watched the movements 
of the enemy. During these long winter months his official cor- 
respondence, as was usual, occupied him much, and tlie minute 
care which he gave to the welfare of his soldiers, as well as pre- 
parations for the spring campaign, absorbed the rest of his time. 
Often he visited the men in their tents. As soon as the general- 
in-chjef appeared in the distance, clad in his grey uniform, covered ' 
with a felt sombrero of the same colour, and mounted on hia ' 
dapple-grey courser, Traveller, his old warriors ran up to him on 
all sides, receiving him with all sorts of tokens of respect and 


affection. Sometimes his rides reached the borders of the Rapidan, 
the outposts, stopping sometimes with one officer, sometimes with 
another, conversing with all, gaining knowledge about everything, 
and, in particular, never forgetting to exchange kind words with the 
private soldiers, and by preference with those who, like himself, were 
no longer young. His smile, full of good nature, was irresistible, 
and every old soldier, with his poor tattered imiform, felt how much 
the general-in-chief looked upon him as a friend and comrade. 

There is scarcely a spectacle more alluring, more refreshing, in 
the midst of the cruel trials of a fratricidal war, than that of the 
characteristics of a great and good man, in those daily relations 
which permit him to give play to the effusions of his heart. Simple 
and affectionate, the old Virginian gentleman has not been forgot- 
ten by his soldiers. They recollect him as he appeared to them 
on many a battle-field, galloping before them in the days of victory. 
But what above all they do not forget is old Uncle Robert as he 
was during the winters of 1862 and 1863, on the Rappahannock 
and the Rapidan, coming into their midst, calling each by their 
name, having a smile for one, a good word for another. 

In the early days of May, i864, commenced the long campaign 
which was to finish in the downfall of the Confederate Govern- 
ment In view of this new assault of arms the North had 
made formidable preparations. New levies were raised to fill 
up the voids in the Federal ranks. Enormous supplies of pro- 
visions and ammunition were accumulated at the central depots 
at Washington, and the Government ordered from the West an 
officer of great reputation to take the command of the Northern 
troops in Virginia, where, it was more than ever evident, the 
really decisive blow in this supreme struggle must be struck. 
Thus, General Grant, to whom we refer, found himself at the head 
of all the forces of the Republic, estimated at a million men. 

In the month of February, 1864, General B. F. Butler had 
made a dash on the Chickahominy side against Richmond, biit 
retired without accomplishing anything. General Kilpatrick, at 





the head of a column of cavalry, had also tried, about the same \ 
time, to penetrate to Richmond on the north-west side, 
the direction of the Rapidan, with the hope of delivering the 
Federal prisoners. All the able-bodied men being in Lee's army, 
it was easy for him to come by surprise pretty near the city, 
but there he was stopped by some militia hastily assembled. He 
was compelled to retire as quickly as he came. One of his officers. 
Colonel Dahlgren, was slain in the skirmish. There was found 
on him a detailed plan of the projected enterprise, also some 
papers which proved that, after the prisoners were freed, the city 
was to be given up to pillage, and the Confederate President 
and Cabinet put to death. Let it be hoped, for the honour 1 
of humanity, that the designs of the Federal chiefs were j 

Everything favoured General Grant from the moment he look 
conraiand. His predecessors, MacClellan among others, had had 
to complain of the Federal authorities, who either lent them only 
an equivocal support, or actually counteracted them in their plans. 
The new commander-in-chief, on the contrary, entered on his 
duties cordially supported by the whole Government, with which 1 
he sympathised personally and politically. His powere were im- 
Umited. He was at liberty to concentrate in Virginia whatever 
troops he liked, and to choose the 'eUte of the corps of all the 
Other Union armies. He therefore enrolled under him those 
regiments which counted the longest service, and that, too, at the 
moment when his adversary saw his troops diminish in number 
and vigour daily. It seemed, therefore, probable that he would 
crush him in the first encounter. 

The Federal army on May ist, 1864, amounted to r4i,ii5 

fighting-men. Lee's was only 52,626, a little more than one-third 

of the forces at Grant's disposal. Ewell's corps numbered 13,000 

I, Hill's 17,000, that of Longstreet 10,000. The cavalry and 

artillery altogether were a trifle more than 10,000, Loi^street, 

have seen, had rejoined Lee, but the Confederates suffered 


disadvantages still more serious than those resulting from such 
a disproportion in numbers. The Southern army was not only 
numerically feeble, but also half-starved, and in rags. Vainly had 
General Lee protested energetically against such inconsiderate 
.treatment of an army on which the destinies of the South depended. 
Whether the fault is chargeable on the authorities, or whether it 
proceeded from circumstances over which the Government had no 
control, certain it is that the commissariat department was badly 
administered, and when the army began the campaign in the early 
days of May, the soldiers were but half fed, and nowise in a proper 
state to support the hardships about to be encountered. Things 
came to this pass, that the meat ration of the Confederate army 
during the winter season of 1863-4 was only 125 grammes 
(a trifle above \ lb.) ; further, the meat consisted only of fat pork, 
which the soldiers melted, and ate on their bread like butter. 
The bread served out was chiefly of maize, seldom of flour, and 
that in so small a quantity as to aflbrd only a mouthful. The 
horses had hardly anything to live on. Several times during the 
winter, meat and bread were wanting entirely. Lee had even to 
address to his soldiers an order of the day to quiet their grumblings. 
He set them an example of frugality, eating meat only twice a 
week ; generally his dinner consisted of cabbage and maize. At 
one time so great was the distress that Lee wrote to President 
Davis that he feared he should be unable to take the field. 

The Confederate Gk)vernment also was wrong in not enrolling 
soldiers for a longer period than twelve months. It would have 
been easy, amid the enthusiasm of the early days, to engage 
all the Southern volunteers for the whole duration of the war. 
Gradually the enthusiasm of the population cooled ; then it was 
necessary to have recourse to conscription, a sad measure, but 
absolutely indispensable. It was hoped it would yield 800,00b 
men, but official reports at the end of 1863 asserted that scarcely 
400,000 had been enrolled. Furloughs, sickness, and desertion 

^uced this figure by a good third. The terrible privations which 



the Confederate army had to endure have much to answer for as J 
regards this deplorable diminution of efficients. 

However this may be, there was nothing for the South but to i 
Struggle with the energy of despair as long as its strength lasted. 
It was on the amiy of Northern Virginia, enfeebled, lessened, 
half-starved, as we have just seen, that all the weight of the final j 
effort was about to fall. After it there was nothing more. With | 
it triumphed or perished the entire Confederacy. 

General Grant and General Lee did not ignore each other. The \ 
Federal commander reckoned that the struggle would be long and ' 
eager. He cherished no hope of easy and prompt success, 
plan, according to the official report, was : " To hammer continuously 
against the armed force of the enemy and his resources, until, by 
mere attrition, if by nothing else, there should be nothing left of 
him but an equal submission with the loyal section of our common 
country to Ihe constitution and the laws." 

The horrible sacrifice of men which this plan would entail does 
not appear to have presented itself for a moment to Grant's mind. 
But he is not to be reproached for that. In truth there remained ' 
no other course for the Federal Government to talte. For three I 
years, pitched battles, favourable or unfavourable to the Noithem J 
arms, had left the Southern troops as unshaken and dangerous as | 
in the past Further, this army had become inuretl to every kind 
of hardship ; these soldiers, accustomed to fatigue, tried by f 
many dangers, no longer offered an easy prey either to the 
tnanceuvres, the assaults, or the surprises of their adversaries. 
Whether attacked in the front or on the flank, they retreated not -j 
a step. 

General Grant, therefore, intended to adopt the mathematical ' 
and iiifaUihle procedure of sacrificing five of his own soldiers for 
every one of Lee's, positive that the day would come H'hen none ' 
remained to the latter. 

The Federal chiefs first idea was to turn Lee's right, traverse 
the forest of the Wilderness rapidly, and march straight > 


Richmond. This done, he meant to invest the city on the north 
and west, cross James River at a point above the city, and unite 
with the 30,000 men whom General Butler, coming from Fortress 
Monroe, was to lead to City Point. Thus the blockade of 
Richmond on three sides would be complete. 

Had Grant been able to traverse the Wilderness and arrive in 
the plain before Lee had succeeded in crossing swords with him, 
his task would have been much facilitated. Thus he had no 
desire to meet the Confederates on his road. Lee immediately 
divined Grant's plan. He left the enemy to cross the Rapidan 
without molestation, in order to attract him into the Wilderness ; 
he counted on falling upon him in this inextricable labyrinth, 
where his artillery and numerical superiority would be of no 
service. Further, the Confederates were well acquainted with the 
district. Lee defiled his army by two parallel roads coming from 
the west to the east, from Orange Court House to Fredericksburg, 
and cutting the roads by which the Federals must necessarily 
emerge in their march from north to south at right angles. 

From that moment Lee meant to compel his adversary to 
execute his plan the wrong way, by placing himself resolutely 
before him at each step he set. The Federal chief saw himself 
obliged to pursue a plan which was not in his original project, and 
of which he had only thought as a makeshift in the last resort. 

On the 4th of May, 1864, Grant crossed the Rapidan with all 
his army at Germanna Ford and other crossings above Chancellors- 
ville. In the Federal army it was thought that Lee would take up 
a defensive position behind the South Anna. The Southern com- 
mander did just the contrary. He marched with his three corps 
towards the Wilderness, there to deliver battle. It was in this 
same region, covered with stunted and tufted trees, that General 
Hooker's defeat had taken place in 1863. Just a year had glided 
by, and another Federal army was venturing into this sombre and 
desolate district ; another dolorous and more eager conflict was 
to redden the groimd already so sadly celebrated. 



The heads of column of Grant's army, followed by its 4000 
waggons and a host of other impedimenta, bad already arrived at 
the httle inn, the Wilderness Tavern, before which Jackson had 
passed in his flank march on the Federal army in May, 1863. As 
mentioned above, the Northern staff did not think that Lee, with 
his small anny, would so boldly throw himself in front of the 
Federals. It was to be supposed that somewhere on the road to 
Richmond, Lee would halt and fight on a ground of his own 
choosing, where the chances seemed favourable to him ; but the 
idea had never come into the adversaries' heads that he would 
himself offer battle. 

Such was, however, the bold project of the Southern chief. 
Iweil, with the vanguard, marched briskly in front, and the same 
night bivouacked three miles from the enemy. Hill's corps pro- 
ceeded in a parallel direction on the right, while Longstreet, 
coming from Cordonsville, conducted his columns along the right 
of Hill, in order to intercept the Federal van. 

Grant, utterly astonished at the presence of the Confederates, 
whom at first he took for the rear of the Southern army beating a 
retreat, was exceedingly vexed to be obliged to accept a conflict 

the Wilderness, where his numerical superiority was of so Uttie 
avail. Thinking at first he had only to do with the Confederate 
■guard, he simply marched forward three divisions, who soon 
came to blows, on the morning of the sth of May, with the troops 
of Ewell, who commanded the Confederate lefL The Federal 
General Warrenton having been driven back with loss. Grant 
perceived that the whole Southern army was barring his passage. 
He sent forward reinforcements, and the contest rapidly extended 
to the centre, where the strife was obstinate. General Hill 
persisted in keeping his ground, and the two armies slept on the 
battle-field. The advantage rested with the Confederates, They 
had stopped Grant's march and forced him to give batde in spite 
of himself, repulsing all the Federal efforts to pierce their line, 
and inflicting on the enemy great losses, taking zooo prisoners. 


Longstreet's corps not being yet in line, Lee did not wish to push 
his advantage further, preferring to await the reunion of all his forces. 
On May 6th, at dawn, the two armies again engaged. The 
Federal centre, under Hancock, marched furiously on the Con- 
federate centre and right, where Hill commanded. The latter was 
outnumbered arid obliged to yield ; his troops fell back in disorder. 
Happily at that moment Longstreet appeared on the battle-field 
For a moment there was great confusion. After a sanguinary 
scuffle, Longstreet, getting his whole corps into line, drove back 
the enemy. General Hancock, who commanded the Federal left, 
had with him, in consequence of numerous reinforcements, nearly 
half the Federal army. Lee's intention in taking the offensive was 
to turn Grant's left, which would have obliged him to retire on the 
Rapidan. Ewell had already, at peep of day, commenced his 
attack on Sedgwick, on the Federal right wing, when Hancock 
came to blows with Hill. 

It is impossible to describe that battle otherwise than as- a blind 
embrace, a clutching of the body between two vast agglomerations 
of men hardly able to see each other, and guided rather by sound 
than sight ; amid these shrubs, these thickets, this brushwood, 
these marshes, they stumbled on each other unawares. There 
could be no manoeuvring. One threw himself on the enemy as on 
a wild beast, seizing him by the throat ; the survivor moved on. 
Then the curious spectacle was seen of officers leading a charge 
with a compass in their hands. In such a sinister manner was 
the campaign of 1864 inaugurated. 

In a semi-darkness 200,000 combatants in blue or grey sought 
to poignard each other. Till then the war had not been so carried 
on. The genius of destruction, tired apparently with the old 
methods of slaying, had lighted on " invisible death." At five in 
the morning the adversaries presented body to body. Both sides 
had hastily raised some works in earth and wood, but trifling in 
all. Each tried to dislodge his foe from these lines, situated a few 
paces apart, whence the fire of musketry never ceased to be heard. 


These lines were scarce visible under the wood ; they were, how- 
ever, lighted up continually by the cracking of rifles ; from the 
depths of the forest arose clamours, cries of triumph ; at each 
moment a column emerged, rushed on the opposing line with 
enthusiastic shouts, and after a short interval the bruised and 
crowded remains regained their point of starting. Scarce was one 
seen ; men fell, gasped, died in the thicket, and their groans were 
drowned in the outrageous clamour of the strife. At ten o'clock 
Longstreet arrived to recapture the lost ground. Lee enjoined 
him to follow up his success. Longstreet pursued Hancock closely, 
and was preparing to drive back the hostile left and get possession 
of Brock Road, when a Confederate bullet, as had happened to 
Jackson, disabled him in the moment of triumph. 

This accident brought about great disorder, which lasted till 
Lee's arrival. He took ^ the command himself; but much time 
had been lost. It was four o'clock before the attack was recom- 
menced, and the enemy, forewarned, had leisure to get prepared. 
Putting himself at the head of the Texas brigade, Lee sounded the 
charge. With bare head, white locks floating to the wind, the 
ardour of combat animating his looks, and his hand pointing to 
the Federal lines, Lee at that moment was sublime. His soldiers 
refused to let him expose himself to so great a danger. On their 
supplications, he had to give up leading them to the assault. 
Advancing, with cries a thousand times repeated, Longstreet's 
soldiers drove everything before them, and planted their standards 
on the enemy's works. The carnage was frightful, and to increase 
the horror, the brushwood caught fire. Smoke and flame blinded 
and enveloped the combatants. A part of the Federal works fell 
. into the hands of the Confederates, but this success was without 
decisive result, for night fell too quickly for them to profit by it. 
The Confederates lost in these two days 7000 men, killed and 
wounded ; the Federal loss amounted to nearly 20,000. 

Nevertheless the indecisive battles of the 5th and 6th of May 
caused Grant to come to a resolution to issue as soon as possible 



from these inextricable thickets, where all deploying of his forces 
was impossible, and where his foe had had the address to stop 
him. On the 7th he kept quiet, but the same night he rapidly 
defiled in the direction of Hanover Junction, following the road to 
Spottsylvania Court House. 

Lee had remained completely stationary all the 7 th, watching 
his enemy. He well perceived that Grant would not retire. Far 
from that ; he had an instinct that he would push on ; so much 
so, that at nine o'clock the same night, at the very moment when 
the Federal columns were likewise moving fonvard. General 
Anderson, with Longstreet's corps, preceded by Stuart's scouts, 
marched towards Spottsylvania Court House. He had fifteen 
miles to travel. All night these two hostile columns contended in 
speed. At every step Fitz-Lee's cavalry worried the Federals by 
means of felled trees, so stopping the columns of Hancock. 
Grant's van arrived at Spottsylvania after sunset : but the Con- 
federates were already there, and rendered all General Warren's 
efforts to get possession of it useless. Lee still barred the road to 
Richmond. A second time Grant saw himself foiled in the 
attempt. At nightfall the two armies encamped opposite each 
other, separated by a watercourse, the P6. The rapidity of the 
Southern chiefs movements had hindered Grant from occupying 
the important strategic point, Spottsylvania Court House. 

The Southern army had taken position on a range of heights 
not far from the watercourse mentioned above, one of the four 
tributaries of the Mattapony, which partly covered the Confederate 
line. All the 9th the two armies were occupied in intrenching 
themselves by means of felled trees all along their respective posi- 
tions. These works are still to be seen. On the 9th and loth 
Grant endeavoured to turn the Confederate left, but without 
result, although the contest lasted all day, and was very murderous. 
The Federal commander, after having tried the two flanks of his 
adversary, resolved to throw himself on his centre unawares. On 
the 1 2th, at 4 a.m., the Federal columns, in close masses of chosen 

GENERAL LEE. . .275 

troops, profited by the unevenness of the ground to march on an 
advanced work situated near the centre of the Confederate hne. 
By an error much to be regretted this point the evening before 
had been partly stripped of its artillery. General Johnson, in 
command of this part of the line, observing that the enemy was 
concentrating his forces in its vicinity, urgently demanded rein- 
forcements, and above all, recalled the guns. But before there could 
be any response to his appeal, the Federals, at 4.30 a.m., rushed 
on the work, routed its defenders, became masters of the place, 
and took 3000 prisoners, among whom was General Johnson. 

Hancock lost not a moment in taking advantage of his success, 
but was soon arrested by a second hne of defence. Generals 
Gordon, Rodes, and Wilcox, hastening up with their divisions, 
resisted all his efforts. In spite of repeated assaults on this point, 
and although the two Federal wings had likewise engaged the 
Confederate right and left, nothing could shake the firmness of 
Lee's position. The combat lasted till midnight. The Con- 
federate chief did not, indeed, succeed in recapturing the work 
lost by Johnson, but he nullified all his adversary's attempts to 
pierce his centre. The capture of Johnson's 3000 men and 18 
cannon was cruelly avenged; the Federal loss amounted to 
upwards of 8000 men. On the 13th and 14th Grant again sought. 
to pierce the Confederate lines; but on the i8th, the date of his 
last effort, he definitively abandoned his project. Since the 4th, 
the day on which he passed the Rapidan, the Northern army had 
lost 40,000 men, and its moral force suffered thereby. Grant 
decided, therefore, to take another road to Richmond. 

Numerous reinforcements unceasingly came to join the army of 
the North, and raised it to the figure of 140,000 men, while Lee's 
little army, continually diminished by these combats, numbered 
less than 40,000. 

On the 2ist of May, Lee learnt from his scouts that Grant's 
army was on the move, marching towards the line of the North 
Anna. The same evening the Confederate commander started 

T 2 


with his first columns in the direction of Hanover Junction, and 
on the evening of the 22nd reached the southern bank of the 
North Anna. 

When General Grant next morning arrived on the southern 
bank of this same river, he found there the Confederate army 
ranged in order of battle to dispute his passage. The position 
occupied by Lee was very important. Behind the river, at the 
distance of nearly two miles, is Hanover Junction, the place where 
the Central Railway of Virginia meets that leading from Richmond 
to Fredericksburg. It was by the Central the Confederates 
received most of their suppHes, for this was the most direct mode 
of communication with the Shenandoah Valley. 

Grant wished to cross the North Anna by main force, impatient 
at always having the same adversary before him. He began by 
ordering his extreme right and extreme left to cross the river. 
Lee allowed this to be done, confident of paralysing his adver- 
sary's movements when he chose. But Grant's difficulty was the 
bringing up of the bulk of his army in order to connect the two 
wings. Lee earnestly hoped Grant would attack him. A glance 
at the map will show his reason for this. The two points where 
the Federals had effected their passage were over five miles apart. 
At Oxford Mills, half-way between them, Lee had strongly posted 
his centre on the river itself. His right extended beyond Hanover 
Junction, inclining to the South ; his left, going from east to west, 
touched Little River. His two wings were protected by swamps 
and watercourses, the whole being defended by earth-works. His 
centre, abutting on the North Anna, was thus interposed between 
the two Federal wings, effectually hindering them from inter- 
communication south of the river. Thus the Confederate lines 
foraied the two sides of an obtuse angle, so that Grant could only 
attack it with a part of his forces at a time, unless, at least, he 
crossed the river twice, while the Confederates had the advantage 
of being able to concentrate themselves on any point menaced, or 
to mass themselves to fall on the Federal right or left, at the same 



me hindering one of the enemy's wings from coming to the iielp 1 
\ai the other. 

This combination of Lee's was the work of a master in the art \ 
■of war. Without striking a blow, he had just reduced to nothing 1 
I all Grant's plans, and endangered the Federal wings. A vigorous \ 
onset by the Federals against Lee's centre made no change in the , 
state of aSairs, and if Grant had not quickly withdrawn from the 
net into which he had strayed, his temerity would have ended i 
a disaster. Had Lee's army been sufficiently numerous to allow' 
Ihim at that moment to assume a vigorous offensive, the Federals 
I would have had much difficulty in getting out of the mess. But 
1 Lee's first duty was to watch jealously the preservation of the 
I feeble resources which remained to him. His comparative 
I Weakness, much to his regret, allowed his adversary in the night 
I of May z6tii to recross the North Anna without opposition. 

Sheridan, the commander of the Northern cavalry, had been 
directed, at the moment when Grant moved on Spottsylvania 
Court House, to make a demonstration from the side of Rich- 
mond, and cut off all the ways leading to this capital. He partly 
succeeded, but, on trying to penetrate to Richmond, he was 
repulsed. The only remarkable incident of this expedition was 
the death of General StuarL This brilliant commander of the 
> Southern cavalry, being directed to pursue Sheridan, had over- 
fctaken liim at Ydlau) Tavern, not far from Richmond. An eager 
I iw^/iV took place, and it was in trying to supplement his meagre 
I forces by the fury of his charge tliat the great Southern cavalier 
k received a mortal wound. His loss was a sensible blow to Lee' 
and the Confederate cause. Of heroic bravery, active, energetic, 
insensible to fatigue, devoted body and soul to the cause for 
which he fought, having for his commander-in-chief the love and 
admiration of a child, this officer was to the Southern cavalry 
what Jackson was to its infantry. His death, at so critical a 
moment, was irreparable. Lee was profoundly vexed by it. 
[ was succeeded by General Wade Hampton, 


Grant found himself again out-manoeuvred in his eflforts to turn 
Lee. He sought still another plan to place himself between the 
Confederates and their capital. Crossing the Pamunkey (the 
name borne by the North and South Anna after their junction) 
at Hanovertown, after a forced night march, he advanced a corps 
of troops towards Hanover Court House, to intercept Lee*s retreat 
or unmask his position. But it was labour thrown away, for Lee 
had not gone to that side. As soon as the Federal movement was 
planned, he also had marched across country to Cold Harbour. 

Halting in the rear of the Tottapotomoi (a marshy watercourse 
flowing from west to east, and falling into the Pamunkey), he 
formed his Hnes, with his left supported on Atlee Station, on the 
Fredericksburg railway, his centre at Mechanicsville, and his right 
at Cold Harbour, backed by the Chickahominy. The country is 
partly covered with wood, with here and there plains and fields. 
On the 28th, the Southern cavalry, commanded by Fitz-Lee, 
turned back Sheridan's, and, having made sure that all the 
Northern army had crossed the Pamunkey, rejoined the bulk of 
the Confederate army. On the 29th and 30th there were recon- 
noitrings on both sides; also frequent skirmishes. Grant now 
for the fourth time found his enemy in front of him. Each time 
the Northern army, hoping to get rid of its indefatigable foe, had 
marched by night ; starting from the Wilderness on the night of 
the 7th of May ; from Pennsylvania on that of the 21st of May; 
from the North Anna on that of the 26th of May. Each time 
Lee had regulated his movements by those of his enemy, and at 
the right moment was planted on his road, barring his passage, 
and offering him battle. 

The two armies were nearly on the same spot where took place 
the series of battles in June, 1862. General Grant had to decide 
on forming a new plan of campaign; or, by hurhng his whole 
army in a compact mass against his adversary, to force the passage 
of the Chickahominy, and take Richmond by assault. He chose 
the latter plan. 


On both sides there had been considerable reinforcements. 
General Butler brought Grant 16,000 men from the Peninsula, 
Breckenridge and Pickett had joined Lee, raising his army to 
44,000 men, a number too small to repair the losses it had 

On June 2nd, several encounters took place between the differ- 
ent corps, sufficiently sanguinary; during this time the bulk of 
the forces on either side were getting into position. On the 3rd 
in the morning, the Federals charged furiously all along the 
Confederate line. It was a hand-to-hand conflict, in which the 
courage and physical strength of the soldiers played the principal 
part ; a complete absence of manoeuvres. An hour's strife decided 
the victory. Thirteen thousand Federals strewed the ground. 
When the officer sent by Lee to Hill to know the result on his 
side presented himself, the latter, leading him to a point in his 
line, and showing him the dead bodies of the enemy heaped 
up before his intrenchments, said, " Tell General Lee that it is 
the same everywhere." The Confederates lost only 1200 men. 
This murderous encounter bears the name of the second battle of 
Cold Harbour. 

Lee had carefully fortified the lines occupied by his soldiers 
with felled trees and earth-works. The experience of the 
campaign of 1862 was of great use to him. This, indeed, 
explains the great disproportion between the losses of the two 

Grant, in the course of the day, wished to renew the conflict, 
but the officers could not get their men to advance. The check 
was decisive ; Grant was obliged to abandon his original plan, 
and transport the theatre of war to the south of the James River. 

Hitherto, the campaign conducted by the Federal general-in- 
chief had ended only in disaster. It had been commenced in the 
hope of turning Lee*s position on the Rapidan, and of getting 
possession at Gordonsville of all the roads by which he obtained 
provisions and reinforcements. Instead of this, Grant had been 


surprised when he least expected it, detained in the Wilderness, 
and compelled to give up his original plan. His second attempt 
to place his army between Lee and Richmond at Spottsylvania 
had succeeded no better. All his efforts to carry Lee's positions, 
thanks to which the latter barred the way to Richmond, were 
useless. His flanking movement in the direction of the North 
Anna once more brought him in front of the Confederate army, 
ready to dispute his passage. His night march along the 
Pamunkey was of no avail, and his attempt to force the passage 
of the Chickahominy at Cold Harbour met with a serious check, 
costing him 13,000 men. 

This short campaign of a month, from May 4th to June 4th, 
1864, was a very bloody one. The Northern army lost 60,000 men, 
of whom 3000 were officers, 19,000 more than all the Confederate 
army ! The latter lost 18,000 efficients. This passage of arms, 
so honourable to Lee and his soldiers, does not at all justify the 
many praises which it is the custom to bestow on Grant in the 
North, and among certain European republicans. From the 
Northern point of view this short campaign is persistently spoken 
of as a series of successes. Had there been many more such the 
cause of the Union would have been ruined. 

Notwithstanding these brilliant feats of arms, Lee was a prey to 
no such illusions as were those around him. He well knew that, 
however valiant his soldiers were, however admirable their conduct, 
however great their devotion, there was yet a limit to their 
strength. If new recruits did not come to increase the ranks of 
his veterans, exhausted by their very triumphs, if material means 
of feeding his soldiers, and continuing the war, failed him more 
and more daily, and if it was forbidden him to retreat from a 
position so exposed, he felt that the fatal ending could not be far 
distant. But around him, in the Government districts, the blind- 
ness was complete. He submitted to those whom he ought by 
law to obey, and prepared to continue the struggle to the bitter 
end, without any sign of discouragement that might be contagious. 


It will, perhaps, be recollected that, concurrently with the 
march of the principal army of the North against Richmond, two 
lateral movements entered into the outline of the operations 
projected by Grant. The object of one was the capture of 
Lynchburg, in the south-west of Virginia, an important town, 
connected with Richmond by river, railway, and canal. The 
other, under General Butler, was directed by sea to the peninsilla 
of Virginia, to co-operate there with Grant. 

In May, General Siegel, who commanded the first-mentioned 
expedition, had been defeated at Newmarket, in the Valley, by 
Breckenridge ; but the latter was presently obliged to rejoin Lee. 
General Jones, with a handful of men, remained to keep back 
General Hunter, who had succeeded Siegel. On the 5 th of June, 
Jones was defeated and slain at Piedmont. Nothing then pre- 
vented Hunter from advancing into the Valley, burning and 
pillaging everything on his road. Having, on the i6th, arrived at 
Lynchburg, he came to blows with General Early, at the head of 
12,000 men, whom Lee had been obliged to detach against him. 
Early beat him, and forced him to a rapid retreat Instead of 
retiring by the road he came. Hunter marched to the east of the 
mountains, leaving the road of the Valley open. Early, who had 
received certain instructions from General Lee, hastened to carry 
them into execution. We shall have occasion to return to these 
operations of Early. Hunter had destroyed the Virginia and 
Tennessee railway over an extent of 135 miles, but in 60 days the 
mischief was repaired. 

» General Butler, following Grant's orders, started from Fortress 
Monroe, (situated, as is well known, at the mouth of the James 
River,) on the 4th of May, and disembarked at Bermuda Hundreds, 
on the James, opposite the mouth of the Appomattox, where 
he intrenched himself, forgetting that he had come to operate 
offensively. Just then he might easily have become master of 
Petersburg, but shortly after General Beauregard arrived from the 
South with a few regiments, and then Butler had to watch for his 


own safety. Attacked by Beauregard, he retired to the Peninsula, and 
could not believe himself secure till he had taken shelter behind 
formidable entrenchments. 

For several days after the decisive check of the Federals at Cold 
Harbour, Lee remained immovable in his lines, thinking his 
adversary would renew the attack, and convinced that it was 
necessary to repulse him. Grant, seeing the necessity of a 
complete change of tactics, resolved to give up his plan of 
assaulting Richmond on the north and east, and march rapidly to 
Petersburg, (a small town twenty-two miles south of Richmond, on 
the Appomattox,) get possession of it, and cut oflf the railways 
connecting Richmond with the districts of the South. By thus 
isolating Richmond from all the region whence it drew its means 
of subsistence, and the army its rations, he hoped to force Lee to 
increase his distance from the capital. 

If the Federal commander were able to execute this project, 
Lee would be obliged to retire towards Lynchburg, in order to 
keep open his communications with the South and West, and the 
war would, perhaps, there have taken another character. 

Consequently, on the 12th of June, Grant kept continually 
inclining his left flank, and crossed the Chickahominy at Wilcox's 
Landing on the 14th, much lower than Cold Harbour. In the 
absence of Early, who had been dispatched to Lynchburg, Lee did 
not deem it prudent to oppose this operation. He nevertheless 
so disposed himself as either to cover Richmond, or march to the 
aid of Petersburg, according to circumstances. Grant, on his side, 
marching to City Point, where the Appomattox falls into the 
James, crossed the latter river on pontoons, and, without losing 
a moment, marched on Petersburg, which he hoped to surprise. 

The want of soldiers had not allowed the Confederate authorities 
to leave at Petersburg sufficient forces to protect the town against 
a sudden blow. Fortunately some volunteers who were at Peters- 
burg, joined with the able-bodied population, were able to deceive 
the enemy as to their numerical inferiority, till Beauregard had time 


to send the greater part of his corps there. Thus the town was 
saved, and on the 15th, at night, Lee's advanced guard reached 
Petersburg. The same day the bulk of the Federal army rejoined 

Scarce arrived, Lee lost not a moment in raising some earth- 
works to the south and east of the town, and in. fortifying himself. 
It was clear to him that Grant would not delay to strike a 
great blow, and that, too, before these works were firmly, con- 
structed. In effect, next day, the i6th, a furious assault ou the 
part of the Federals drove Lee behind his second line of defence. 
On the 17th and i8th. Grant sought to become master of this 
likewise. But having lost 4000 men, he was obliged to give up 
the attempt The Federal staff realized the necessity of isolating 
the town. Hence, on the 21st, an attempt was made further to the 
west, on the Confederate right, in order to gain Weldon Railroad, 
running southwards. Here again the Federals were repulsed, 
leaving in the hands of the Confederate General Hill nearly 3000 
men. A corps of Federal cavalry took away the rails, and did 
some mischief on the three railways of Weldon, Southside, and 
Danville, which gave a communication to the Confederates with 
the South and West. 

But, harassed by General A. H. F. Lee, and vigorously charged 
near Sapponey Church by General Hampton, with the greater part 
of what remained of the Confederate cavalry, (1500 horses,) the 
squadrons of the North retreated in disorder. Hardly escaped 
from General Hampton, they found themselves fighting with 
Fitz-Lee's brigade and General Mahone's infantry, which com- 
pleted their rout. They left 12 pieces of artillery and 1000 
prisoners in the hands of the Southerners, and were so disorganized 
as to be unable for some time to resume service. 

The end of June was approaching. All efforts to pierce the 
Confederate lines had failed. Every day the works of the defence 
became more formidable. There was nothing else, therefore, for 
the Federal general but to sit down before this long fortified line, to 


raise parallel works for his own protection against all offensive 
artifices, and so to undertake the regular siege of Petersburg. 
Such being his object, his first thought was to gain ground towards 
the left, and gradually lay his hand on the railways of Weldon and 
Southside, thus cutting of all communication between Petersburg 
and the west and south of the Confederacy. 

During the months of June and July, the Confederates bestowed 
all their care on increasing the strength of their intrenchments. 
On the ist of July, the Federal engineer officers declared there 
was no chance of taking the place by assault. It was a line 
of redans connected together by covered ways, while all the 
approaches were defended by felled tress, chevaux-de-frise, and 
all sorts of obstacles. Surrounding Petersburg from east to 
south, it extended from the Appomattox to beyond the enem/s 
left wing. To the north of this same river a system of similar 
fortifications defended that quarter of the town, and the railway 
going to Richmond, from all attack by Butler's army at Bermuda 
Hundreds. The City of Richmond had it own peculiar system 
of defence. Petersburg, like Sebastopol, was not besieged in the 
strict sense of the word, since to the north and west the ways 
were free. 

The task before Lee was difficult and discouraging. With an 
army of 40,000, or 50,000 men, scattered over an extent of nearly 
forty miles of country, he had to defend, against three times the 
number of his forces, the capital, situated twenty-two miles in his 
rear. From the month of July in one year to that of April in the 
next there was not a moment when, had this line of defence been 
pierced, the war would not suddenly have ended. The way in 
which he performed this toilsome duty will always be one of ^his 
greatest titles to glory. Perhaps, from a military point of view, 
the defence of Richmond is the finest part of his career. 

The Southern general-in-chief felt that if Grant succeeded in 
isolating the capital, there would be nothing for the Confederate 
Government to do but evacuate Richmond, and, the army's duty 


[ facing to follow it, he would have likewise to abandon Virginia, \ 
■ The Federal authority would thus be extended over the most' 
ancient, the largest, the most important state of the Confederacy, 
and tliere was, in case this came about, little doubt that the other 
Confederate States would lose their courage, and give up 
defending themselves. None of these considerations escaped Lee, 
whose clearsightedness could not be deceived as to the probable 
results of -so unequal a struggle as the one he was engaged in 
against Grant. In 1862, in a confidential conversation, he had 
said there was but one way of reducing Richmond, and it was thai 
which Grant had at length adopted. As long as the enemy would 
only attack the north or east, Lee could justly hope, by fighting 
with eagerness, to repulse hira, and maintain his stand at Richmond; 
but from the day the Federals encamped before Petersburg, and 
threatened all the arteries by which the capital and army were 
nourished, the moment would come when, sooner or later, the 
capital must be abandoned, and consequently Virginia. 

For that matter, it was well Lee foresaw all this, when his 
adversary, forsaking every other system of attack, crossed the 
James River and marched on Petersburg, It is even said he 
would have then advised the evacuation of Richmond. But this 
opinion found no echo. A powerful party, including both friends 
and enemies of President Davis, regarded this idea with dismay. 
All the energies of the Government, therefore, were centred on the 
means to be employed to keep the enemy south of the Appomattox, 
and to this end no precaution was omitted. Some weeks were 
necessary for the two adversaries to complete their works of 
defence and atLick. Grant wished to be able, at any given 
moment, to leave in his lines a feeble part of his army, and sally 
from his intrenched camp with the rest of his troops. 

Not a day, however, passed without engagements between small 
parties, A Federal corps advanced to Charles City, on ihe north 
bank of the James, and menaced Richmond thence. The Federal 
lines extended IJom this point "^'y "'" Pi-nir'i"'" "'' Burmuda 



Hundreds, formed by the Rivers James and Appomattox before 
their junction. They embraced Petersburg to the east and south, 
and thence, daily gaining ground to the west, they approached 
nearer and nearer the railways which fed the Southern army and 
the capital. Lee's lines ran parallel to those of his adversary. 
To the east and south-east of Richmond there still existed some 
works of defence. To these an exterior line was added, fronting 
the enemy's forces placed near Deep Bottom. Beneath Drury's 
Bluff, a cliff overhanging the river, which had been fortified, some 
ruined buildings and other obstructions barred the passage to the 
Federal gunboats. The Confederate lines continued facing those 
of the enemy north of the Appomattox, then, passing this river, 
went round Petersburg to the north and south, stretching away to 
the west, accommodating themselves to those of General Grant. 
The two commanders felt that the decisive combat would take 
place to the west of Petersburg, and that a moment would come 
when Lee's numerical inferiority would not be able to prevent his 
adversary turning him. 

The long struggle around Petersburg does not offer the same 
dramatic interest as such battles as those of Chancellorsville and 
Gettysburg. Under Petersburg very bloody combats followed 
each other without apparent result. It was a long uninterrupted 
battle day and night, week by week, month by month, through the 
heat of summer, the dismal days of autumn, and the frosty nights of 
winter. It was, in fact, the siege of Richmond which Grant had 
undertaken \ and what we shall have to chronicle will be less 
battles, in the ordinary sense of the term, than a long series of 
reiterated efforts to pierce his adversary's lines, sometimes to the 
north of the James River, sometimes to the east of Petersburg, 
sometimes at a point in the continuous line of redoubts which 
defended the approaches of the Southside railway (southern bank), 
of which Grant wished to make himself master at any price. 
Once in possession of this railway he felt sure of victory. 

It was the month of July, and every day, over the whole extent 



of the lines, whether to north of the James or to the south of the 
Appomattox, resounded the cracking of rifles. Grant kept con- 
stantly trying the armour of his foe, and that at all points, to find 
some fault in his cuirass, when suddenly the telegraph from 
Washington flashed him the astounding news that a strong Con- 
federate column had passed into Maryland, dispersed the troops 
sent against it, and appeared before the fortifications of Washing- 
ton. This diversion, altogether unanticipated by the Federals, 
had yet been prepared by Lee with great care, and he expected 
great results from it. 

It will be remembered that we left General Early in the Valley 
of Virginia. He had just driven Hunter from Lynchburg. With- 
out losing a moment the intrepid Early, descending the Valley and 
crossing the Potomac, entered Maryland with the intention of 
threatening Washington, as Lee had directed him, in the hope 
that President Lincoln would recall at least a part of Grant's army 
for the succour of the capital. His march was very rapid, and, 
encountering no obstacle, he arrived at Monocacy, near Frederick 
City, whither the Confederate armies had penetrated twice already. 
There he found some thousands of men under General Wallace. 
Defeating them without difficulty, on the nth of July, he appeared 
in sight of Washington. Great was the consternation there, and, 
in their terror, the Federal authorities looked upon the capture 
of the capital as inevitable. <jrant did not allow himself to be 
troubled by their messages of distress. Two corps had just 
come by sea from Louisiana to Fortress Monroe, and were 
still there. Grant, without allowing them to disembark, sent them 
on without delay to Washington. They arrived in time to man 
the intrenchments of the capital. 

Early was well aware that, with his 10,000 men and 40 cannon, 
he could not possibly take Washington by a sudden blow, as long as 
General Hunter, with various detachments reunited, menaced his 
rear. His corps had travelled 497 miles in twenty-five days, (nearly 
twenty miles a day on the average,) and his soldiers were exhausted. 


He had, therefore, to think about his own retreat. Recrossing the 

Potomac, he retired into the Valley, carrying off some booty and 

herds of cattle. He remained in the Valley, whence, for three 

months, he incessantly threatened the Northern border States. 

Had this bold expedition of Early succeeded it would assuredly 
have terminated the campaign Grant was pursuing beneath Peters- 
burg. But although it did not secure all the success hoped for, it 
partly accomplished its aim, since it retarded the Federal opera- 
tions, and forced the Northern Government to retain an army of 
40,000 men for purposes of observation near the capital, enfeebling 
by so much the army of Grant. 

July was drawing to a close, and Grant had not yet succeeded 
in forcing the enemy's lines. None of his numerous attacks had 
found his foe off his guard. The Federals at length seemed 
resigned to the task of wearying and exhausting their adversary 
by calculated delays, giving up great attacks. Such, at least, was 
the general feeling in both armies, when, at sunrise, on the 30th 
of July, a violent explosion, which was heard twenty-five miles off, 
shook the ground around Petersburg, and a vast column of smoke 
obscuring the heavens, seemed to indicate that a powder magazine 
had burst. Nothing of the kind. What had happened was this : 

A Federal engineer officer had called Grant's attention to the 
fact that certain Confederate works being less than 200 yards 
from the Federal lines, it would not be impossible to work a mine 
in that direction. Behind this point the ground rose, and com- 
manded the town. If, in consequence of the confusion caused by 
the explosion, this height could be mastered, the hostile lines 
could be taken in the rear, and the town would be at Grant's 
mercy. The Federal chief welcomed the proposal. 

On July 25th all the preparations were ended. A subterranean 
gallery, 500 feet long, had been dug, and, on the 27th, 12,000 
pounds weight of powder was introduced into it. In order to 
turn away Lee's attention, and force him partly to strip his lines, 
Grant ordered Hancock's corps to join Butler's. The two generals 



fc're to threaten Richmond. Lee, in fact, had to send several , 
parry this new danger. As soon as Grant became ' 
sure, by the resistance which Hancock was encountering on the 
other side of the James, that Lee had considerably weakened his 
army, he recalled Hancock as mysteriously as possible, on the 
zgth, in order to take part in the assault planned for the morrow. 

Lee, although not exactly aware of what was passing, still had 
his doubts that his lines at Petersburg were aimed at On the 
morning of the 30th, as we have said, a terrible explosion sent the 
fort into the air, together with ail in it. A yawning gulf, 150 feet 
long, 65 wide, and 30 deep, opened in its stead. At the same 
moment the Federal artillery, before the clouds of smoke and dust 
had dissipated, opened a fire along the whole line. A Federal 
corps of 15,000 men rushed forward in double-quick dme, in the 
hope of crossing the horrible pit, and climbing the height, before 
the Confederates had recovered from their surprise and terror. 
But the latter were soon recovered, and ready to receive the 
charge. Hardly had Grant's soldiers crossed the space covered 
with the smoking fragments when they were assailed by a terrible 
artillery fire, which raked them right and left, while in front they 
Teceived from the infantry a perfect shower of bullets. Disorder 
and hesitation appeared in their ranks : all were soon possessed 
with but one idea, to take refuge in the bottom of the gulf, and 
over this mass of blacks and whites the Southern artillery rained 
down a storm of grape-shot. Those who sought to escape from 
butchery, by climbing out of the yawning hole, attempted to 
8ee to the Federal lines, and fell under the bullets of the infantry. 
General Mahone, who commanded on the Confederate side, 
eventually ordered the fire to cease, so heartrending was this 
scene of carnage. The Federals were at length able to effect 
their retreat, leaving 4000 prisoners in the hands of Lee, who, on 
]jis side, had lost very few men. He soon set up his lines in 
their old positions. 

During August and September the Confederate chief had t 


repulse numerous attacks on different points of his lines. Grant, 
ever seeking to gain ground on the left, in order to intercept the 
railways which ran towards the west, tried also at times to pierce 
the enemy's lines by surprise on the north of the James, and so to 
arrive at Richmond. Probably he did not count on much success 
in that direction, but his repeated attacks there offered an incon- 
testable advantage in forcing Lee to weaken his right, and thus 
uncover the Southside Railway, the true object of Grant's efforts. 

After an indecisive assault on the Confederate positions to the 
north of the James about the end of August, a considerable 
Federal force attempted to gain the Weldon Railway, near Peters- 
burg. This enterprise succeeded. For a long time Lee had informed 
the authorities at Richmond that it would be impossible for him 
to defend this advanced point if the enemy seriously attacked it 
But to obey the orders of his Government he was obliged to 
maintain himself there as long as possible. Grant wished to 
pursue his success and seize Ream's Station, further south on tlie 
same line, and destroy the permanent way at Hicksford. After 
several sanguinary encounters Lee succeeded in preventing him. 
The Federals retired with serious loss. 

To the north of the James, General Butler took Fort Harrison, 
an important post, permitting him to menace the Confederate 
positions. But his efforts to penetrate further in the direction of 
the works at Chafin's Bluff were repulsed. 

The Federals, however, remained masters of the Weldon line, 
and by means of extending further and further on the left, 
gradually occupying and cutting off the different roads from 
Petersburg to the south, they succeeded in October in making 
good their footing at Hatcher's Run, a little watercourse which 
flows southwards from the neighbourhood of Petersburg. The 
loss of the Weldon Railway was of no great importance to the 
Confederates, as long as they remained in possession of the 
Southside one, which went along the southern bank of the 
Appomattox, coming from the west; but at the point to which 



they had attained the Federals were about to commeDce their 
attacks direct oa this part, so important in Lee's system of 

Grant was the more persistent because the presidential election 
was approaching, and his chances as a candidate would be 
increased if success held him up to the admiration of his fellow- 
citizens. Indeed, on October 27th, three Federal corps, equipped 
for a campaign, leaving bardiy enough men behind to inaK the 
works before Petersburg, crossed Hatchet's Run. But they soon 
perceived that the Confederate lines extended much further tlian , 
they thought. General Hancock hesitated to attack, Lee, profit- 
ing by an interval between Hancock's corps and the one following, 
sent Hill's troops to the charge. Disorder arose in the Federal 
ranks. Hampton's cavalry made several hundred prisoners. At 
length, in the night, Hancock managed to retreat, giving up the 
prosecution of his attack. Grant was fortunate in recalling his 
soldiers, for Lee during the night had massed 15,000 infantry and 
all his cavalry in front of Hancock, and reckoned on the morrow 
morning, the 28th, to crush the Federal second corps. Very soon 
active operations were interrupted by the great rains. Each side 
went into winter quarters. 

In November, the election of the delegates who were charged 
with nominating the president of the United States for the follow- 
ing four years took place. The choice assured the election of 
Mr. Lincoln, and the defeat of General MacClellan, who was 
regarded as more favourable to the Southerners. This was a sign 
there was no misconstruing. It became more and more clear, that 
only with their arms in their hands could the Confederates conquer 
their independence; there was no other way for them to issue 
happily out of their trials. 

General Lee looked upon the gloomy prospect with firmness. 
The future did not appear in very encouraging colours. Every 
day Southern resources were diminishing, the blockade became 
more effective, his army was losing in number and strength. 


tliscouragement was creeping into all hearts. Alone, in the midst of 
this general despondency, the commander of the army of Northern 
Virginia preserved an impassive behaviour. Speaking one day to 
a Confederate senator he said : " For myself, I hope to die sword 
in hand." The feeling of what he owed his country and his 
soldiers, hindered him later from seeking death, but it was perhaps 
the greatest sacrifice he could make them. 




Before relating the last and decisive passage of arms in the war, 
let us say a few words on a very remarkable circumstance. We 
wish to speak of the equal, almost laughing, humour of General 
Lee, in the midst of anxieties and preoccupations sufficient to 
break the strongest heart 

His head-quarters were nearly two miles west of Pe.tersburg, 
on the Cox Road, nearly in the centre of the army. There Jie 
lived, awaiting with calmness the events of the future. Hi§ face 
betrayed not a shadow of disquietude ; on the contrary, it ap- 
peared full of hope, and encouraged those who surrounded him to 
believe in final success. We have, however, proved that he was 
far from really having this assurance. From the first day of the 
siege he seemed to have regarded the situation as desperate, 
unless, at least, his army received numerous reinforcements ; but 
to the end he recollected his two favourite maxims : " Do your 
duty^ and, " Human courage ought to rise to the height of human 

Beyond all doubt. Lee saw the sad dinouement approaching, for 
all his efforts to reinforce his httle army by new recruits were 
unavailing. Without repeating the reasons we have given else- 
where, it is incontestable that the country was exhausted, and at 
the end of its strength. While the Federal army was receiving 
numerous reinforcements in a manner so regular that it never 



had less than 150,000 combatants, the entire army of Lee under 
Petersburg never reached the figure of 60,000 men, and in the 
spring of 1865, whilst still it held all its old positions, it had not 
30,000 men under arms. The South had no more men to send 
it. "The immense hammer," as Grant called his army, that 
multitudinous army, powerful, and admirably organized, con- 
tinually recruited, and abundantly provided with all that was 
necessary to it, struck with redoubled blows on the decimated, 
half-starved, exhausted ranks of the meagre battalions of the 
South. Lee saw the hour inevitably arriving when it would 
be compulsory on him to surrender, or force his way through 
the multitude of his enemies. 

As the situation became more critical, all eyes in the Con- 
federacy centred in Lee, as the only man who could save the 
country. Public opinion demanded that the direction of all the 
armies spread over the Southern territory should be confided to 
him. Had this measure been taken sooner, it might, perhaps, 
have produced other results ; but towards the spring of 1865, when 
this wish of the population was reahzed, it was too late. 


The Confederate cause finished by becoming personified in Lee. 
An almost superstitious faith in his good star spread throughout 
the country. At the very moment when Lee saw clearly that the 
final scene was near at hand, most of his fellow-citizens believed 
they ran no risk so long as he was at the head of the army. 
This deep-rooted persuasion might well be a source of grief to 
him, for nobody less than he was subject to illusions, or blind 
through an excess of confidence. 

In vain Lee represented to the civil authorities, that, if the 
enemy succeeded in breaking his hnes at any point whatever, it 
was all over with the Confederacy. His military experience would 
not allow him to be deceived ; he had to sustain the weight of a 
universal confidence, which he did not share. Not a murmur 
escaped him; nothing which indicated the desperate position to 
which he was reduced. He asked for men to fill his gaps; if 






none or but few came, he continued no less to show a bold front 
to his powerful adversary, with what soldiers remained to him. 
They were chosen men, it is true. The fire of baltles had purified 
die metal, and all that had issued from the crucible was pure gold 
without alloy. 

Lee was in their eyes an ideal captain. For a long time they 
had ceased to have towaids him the respectful fear of former 
times ; they had come to understand the treasures of goodness 
and simplicity hidden beneath that grave exterior. A charming 
incident is related as regards this subject. One day, during the 
latter months of the siege, in one of the trains going from Rich- 
mond to Petersburg, a young soldier, with his arm in a sling, was 
trying to arrange his cloak so as to keep him from the severe 
cold of the morning. He did the best he could with his teeth 
and strong arm, when an officer seated at a little distance rose, 
came to him, tenderly drew the cloak over the wounded arm, and 
then buttoned it with care. Then, after a few words of real 
sympathy, he returned to his place. His light-grey uniform, the 
three stars on his collar, and the simplicity of his behaviour, . 
would not have been sufficient to denote his rank, had not every- 
body present known that it was Genera! Lee, as gentle as he was 
modest and brave. 

The winter of 1864 shows him to us much aged. But liis step 
was as firm and his figure as upright as at the beginning of the 
war. He seemed to be of iron. All his days were passed on 
horseback, and half his nights in writing. 

As the end approaches, which the last tragic sc&nes of this 
protracted strife unveil, it is difficult, even for those whose 
sympathies are of necessity with the North, not to feel attracted with 
sadness and respect towards that noble figure of the Confederate 

This great warrior was about to undergo the cruellest trial 
possible to a general ^that of seemg his army dispersed and 
dismissed to their hearths, vanquished and ruined. 


The last passage of arms between the two armies under 
Petersburg began in March, 1865. It had been preceded in 
other places by serious events, the result of which had been to 
annihilate, so to speak, the advanced works of the Confederacy, 
leaving only the citadel standing. In the Valley of Virginia, 
since the preceding autumn, the situation of the Southerners had 
grown much worse. In September, General Sheridan, at the head 
of 45, 000 men, had attacked General Early near Winchester, who 
commanded only from 8000 to 10,000 infantry. Driven first to 
Strasburg, the latter was obliged to retire to Staunton, in the 
upper part of the Valley. In October, Early, resuming the 
offensive, failed completely to crush his adversary at Cedar Run ; 
but being himself surprised by a stratagem of the enemy, he was 
finally obliged to beat a retreat to Waynesborough, in the Valley. 
There, in February, his little band was attacked and dispersed for 
good. Sheridan, who had gained this anything but glorious, 
though most important, triumph, was at liberty to descend into 
the plain, join General Grant, and with his numerous legions of 
cavalry, take part in the last combats under Petersburg. 

In the west the Federal arms had won still greater successes. 
General Johnston, to whom, on Lee*s demand, the command of 
the Confederate troops in this region had been given, seeing that 
he had not the disposal of forces sufficient to resist General 
Sherman, was obliged to retire before him. The Federal com- 
mander, thanks to the exhaustion of the country, and the small 
number of Johnston's soldiers, traversed with scarce any resist- 
ance the whole district to Savannah, on the Atlantic Ocean. 
Easily mastering this town, he pushed on to Goldsborough, in 
North CaroHna, whence he could easily march on whatever line 
of retreat Lee might choose. 

Such was the state of military affairs in February and March, 
1865. In February, some delegates of the Confederate Govern- 
ment had had an interview with President Lincoln on board a 
steamer in the roadstead of Fortress Monroe, at the mouth of the 


James River. But it ended in nothing. Nothing then was left 
but the arbitration of the sword, and every advantage was on the 
Federal side. Lee, who had just been nominated generalissimo 
of the Confederate armies, vain title, almost a derision at such a 
moment, saw the different hostile armies gradually forming a 
circle round him. He did not deceive himself with the idea that 
he could much longer maintain himself in the hnes of Petersburg. 
The country, especially the civil portion, had in its general such 
confidence as to refuse to see the imminence of the danger. To 
act thus they must have closed their eyes, for Lee had in front 
of him Grant, with his 150,000 men ; General Sherman, with 
forces nearly as numerous, was at that moment entering the 
south of Virginia. All Lee's army numbered but a httle over 
30,000 men, and that of Johnston, which Sherman pursued, was 
still less. 

It was, therefore, evident that, sooner or later, but in a few 
days at most, the Confederate army would be annihilated. At 
the beginning of February, 1865, Lee foresaw that nothing but 
the abandonment of Virginia could save him. Consequently, 
before Sherman had penetrated into the heart of CaroHna, he had 
taken steps to effect a retreat by ordering his waggons and other 
impedimenta to cross to AmeHa Court House, west of Petersburg, 
and Ukewise to prepare pontoons for the crossing of the Roanoke 
River. His plan was to join Johnston in North Carohna, who* 
was so to manoeuvre as to help his chief, and retire with him 
into the districts of the West. First the Virginian mountains, and 
then the fertile regions of the South-west, he hoped, would permit 
him to prolong the struggle with the possibility of treating for 
better conditions. Any plan of campaign was better than a 
prolonged sojourn in Virginia, which would end in his being 
completely surrounded by the enemy, and compelled to surrender 
at his mercy. 

It will always be a subject for regret that Lee was not permitted I 
to realize his plan. The opposition of the Richmond Cabinet, 


who much dreaded the moral effect of a voluntary abandonment 
of the Confederate capital, compelled him to give it up. 

The suffering of the Confederates during these winter months . 
around Petersburg cannot be described. The service of victuals 
was bad and irregular. As the Federal movements extended 
further and further over the territory of the Confederacy, 
the Southern commissariat was obliged gradually to contract 
the limits whence it could hope to draw provisions. When 
February came, the only ways by which supplies still reached 
Richmond and Petersburg, as well as the army, were the 
Lynchburg Canal, and the two railways leading to the west, 
namely, the Southside Railway, along the southern bank df the 
Appomattox, as its name impHes, and the Danville and'Richmond 
Railway, starting from the latter town, and leaving the James 
River, till it joins the first line at Burke Station, whence it 
branches east to Lynchburg and south to Danville. 

Frequently Lee had but two or three days* provisions, so much 
was the country impoverished, and so difficult was it to get the 
few that could be procured transported. This life of continual 
self-denial, cruel privations, want of warm clothing, of medicines, 
of nourishment, rapidly diminished the' efficiency of Lee's army. 
I Some regiments had less than 200 men in their ranks. It was a 
phantom army ; the pale and meagre visages seemed to belong to 
shadows without bodies. Occasionally the arrival of a vessel 
lucky enough to force the blockade of Wilmington, in North 
CaroHna, the only Confederate port remaining, spread in the 
camp comparative plenty. But presently again one was reduced 
to a quarter of a pound of lard, and a little flour diluted with 
water. Sometimes a little coffee \ this was the only stimulant to 
bring back a little warmth to those fainting bodies. Only at rare 
intervals could the Richmond Government distribute to them 
blankets, clothing, or shoes. Their old uniforms hung in tatters, 
and no longer protected them against the winter frosts. They 
shivered nightly under their worn-out and ragged blankets. Their 


old shoes, often patched, and always in boles, in consequeni 
marchings and alarms, no longer protected their bare feet against I 
the stony and frozen ground. They were literally "Lee's 
Miserables," as they entitled theniselves in recollection of Victor - 
Hugo's work, which had penetrated to the tents of this army 

' Notwithstanding all this suffering and the little hope apparent 
on the horizon, the greater part of Lee's veterans remained firm 
at their post, forming a woefully slender but well-held line, strung 
out over an extent of works forty miles in length, while in their 
front was an enemy admirably equipped, well provided with tools 
and food, and ha\-ing forces five times their strength. 

Surely impartial history will do justice to soldiers who, amid 
such circumstances, neither despaired nor suffered their moral 
force to wane. Unshaken in their patriotism, unsubdued in their 
military fidelity, they persisted in the stni^le, although their 
courage was submitted to terrible trials. Day and night for 
months an incessant Federal fire, without one break, rained 
down upon them all known means of destruction. Their con- 
stancy during those dismal days of winter never failed : night 
came ; they lay down in their trenches, where cold and the enemy's 
shells left them no repose. Snow, hail, wind, rain, cannon-fire, 
— they had to bear all, without a ray of sunlight, without a ray of 
hope. If, sometimes, anxiety or fatigue tended to undermine 
their resolution, they had but to turn their eyes to the calm, 
paternal countenance of [their chief, to feel spring up within them 
a more profound and unlimited confidence in him than ever. 

The naked state of his brave soldiers cut him to the heart 
Yet his looks did not betray his feelings. He spared no effort, 
no application to alleviate their misery. But we can well beUeve 
that the Richmond Cabinet found it impossible to do anything 
more for its noble defenders, Lee's evenness of temper, his 
serene tranquillity, rendered him dearer than ever to his soldiers 
and his country. One after another the armies of the South and 1 


West melted away and disappeared before the enemy ; Wilming- 
ton, the last port connecting the Confederacy with Europe and 
the rest of the world, had just fallen into the hands of Sherman ; 
the Richmond Congress were displaying such indecision and 
feebleness as we so often find in assemblies in moments of cnsis ; 
the grand figure of Lee alone stood out luminous from this 
gloomy and stormy background. He remained an anchor of 
I safety to his agonising fatherland. 

/ Informed of the bill which nominated him commander-in-chief 
F of all the Southern armies, he did not conceal the embarrassment 
in which this new and undesired honour placed him. The 
reciprocal relations of friendship and confidence between him and 
President Davis made him hesitate to accept a title, vain, it is 
true, and henceforth useless — which seemed likely to bring about 
a coolness between himself aijd the executive power. But the 
unanimous wish of all carried the day ; he was obliged to yield, 
although he felt that the nearly absolute power decreed to him 
could no longer save the country. 

When the result of the conferences between the delegates 
assembled at Fortress Monroe was known, the indignation at 
Richmond and in the army was great. President Davis had 
declared that the independence of the South was the absolute 
basis of all ulterior negotiation. This, in the eyes of President 
Lincoln and his councillors, was an inadmissible condition. All 
parleying was therefore broken off. Many meetings at Rich- 
mond testified to a deep feeling of irritation at the humilia- 
ting propositions made by the North. This manifestation of 
public opinion assumed various forms ; addresses signed by the 
army appeared in the newspapers, affirming anew an unshaken 
resolution to struggle to the end for the sacred cause of the 

The will was there, but the means were wanting. More de- 
fenders were necessary to the cause, which was collapsing for 
want of soldiers and material. How could the Government arm 



J equip new levies when it could not sufficiently minister to the \ 
necessities of those already under its flags ? Early in the war the | 
arming of the negroes was discussed. The proposition was 
ill-received that it had to be given up. When, however, later, it 
was perceived that the law of conscription, which it was hoped 
would give 400,000 men, did not furnish near that number, a law 
for the enrolment of the blacks was presented to the Chamber of 
Representatives at Richmond. To this General Lee was favour- 
able, and in February he wrote on the subject a letter to a 
commission of the Chamber, in which, among other things, he 
says : — " I think the measure not only expedient, but necessary. 
The enemy will certainly use them against us if he can get 
possession of them ; and as his present numerical superiority will 
enable him to penetrate many parts of the country, I cannot see 
the wisdom of the policy of holding them to await his arrival, 
when we may, by timely action and judicious management, use 
them to arrest his progress," 

In his opinion they might have been made good soldiers with 
the help of a severe discipline. He adds, " My notion is that 
those of them who serve in the army ought, in cotisequence, to be 
declared free. It would be neither just nor wise to expose them 
to the greatest of all dangers, risk of losing their lives, and refuse 
them the finest of rewards — liberty." 

The bill, which was passed in March, too late to be of any use, \ 
did not correspond to the lofty ideas enunciated by Lee. The 
pro-slavery party, in the narrow acceptation of the term, had 
dictated the terms of it 

On accepting the new position forced on him by circumstances 
General Lee published an order of the day, in which he humbly 
invoked the support of the Almighty, and addressed a warm 
appeal to the patriotism of his fellow-citizens, expressing the hope 
that thus the end so ardently wished for would be reached — peace 
and independence. 

The concentration of all military powers in Lee's hands, and 


the evacuation of Charleston, preceded by the destruction of its 
works, seemed to announce a defence d. outrance, which inspired 
the North with a legitimate disquietude. ^ On this subject, a 
Northern writer expresses himself in terms like these: "While 
endeavouring to realise the signification of the recent change in 
the Southern system of defence, the future appears to us more 
gloomy and impenetrable than ever. It is to a single head, and 
we know how fertile that head is in resources — ^it is to a single 
heart, and we know the firmness and courage of that heart — it is 
to a single man, and we know to what a high degree he is 
endowed with intelligence to plan, t© strike, to counteract, to 
repair errors, to profit by the blunders of his adversaries, that 
henceforth the military destinies of the South are confided." 

But he was not permitted to put in execution the projects 
indicated. Had he been able to obtain the authority of the 
Richmond Government to evacuate both Petersburg and the 
Confederate capital, very probably the war would have had 
another issue. 

General Lee, about the end of March, perceived that prepara- 

:re making in the Federal army for some important r 
ment, — a movement, for that matter, easy to divine. The Federal 
left having gradually gained ground in the direction of Southside, 
it became evident that Grant was contemplating an oSensive 
movement in this direction. He hoped thus to acquire the only 
line of retreat open to Lee, and finish the war at a blow. 

The catastrophe foreseen by the Southern chief for months was 
getting ready threateningly before his eyes. Unless he had re- 
course to some means as desperate as his situation, all stru^ling 
was at an end. Retreat appeared the only means open to him, 
but retreat was no longer aa easy thing. His adversary had the 
command of forces placed not far from the roads over which Lee 
must necessarily pass. Without a diversion, the chances of retiring 
his army from the awkward position in which it was, seemed 
hopeless. He therefore decided on this. 

His plan was, boldly to assume the offensive. It was of the 
utmost urgency to remedy the extreme pressure on his right wing, 
about to succumb to the accumulated masses of the enemy con- 
centrated against it, and, by striking a blow elsewhere, to divert 
the danger threatening the Southside Railroad. By attacking the 
Federal centre, east of Petersburg, Lee would force Grant to partly 
strip his left wing. Should the Confederates succeed in introducing 


themselves between the two Federal wings, and likewise in 
menacing the railway coming from City Point, a place on the 
James where the steamers disembarked their cargoes, and where 
Grant received his supplies, affairs would wear an altered appear- 
ance. At the worst, admitting that Lee might judge it most 
prudent to beat a retreat, this offensive movement would permit 
him, while his adversary was occupied in massing his troops on 
his front with the object of arresting the attack on his centre, to 
retire suddenly by the Southside Railway to North Carolina, as he 
had originally intended. 

General Gordon commanded the part of the Confederate army 
immediately before Petersburg ; it was composed of three small 
divisions. Longstreet had the left wing, which extended to the 
north of the James, and the right wing was under the orders of 
A. P. Hill, stationed at Hatcher*s Run. 

To Gordon, therefore, fell the principal part in the battle of the 
2Sth of March. The positions to be taken were on Hase's Hill, 
two hundred and fifty yards atl east from the Confederate lines. The 
interval was defended by felled trees, trenches, and chevaux-de-frise ; 
but should the first assault succeed, should the dash of the troops 
carry them on, and they be supported by sufficient reinforcements, 
the hill behind would fall into their hands, and, to maintain his 
position, Grant would be compelled to concentrate his army on 
the point menaced. 

Before dawn, on March 25 th, everything was ready. The 
attacking column was composed of from 3000 to 4000 men under 
General Gordon. In reserve enough forces were held to support 
him. With daylight Gordon gave the signal. His soldiers rapidly 
and silently crossed the space separating them from Fort Stead- 
man, the most advanced of the Federal lines. Scrambling over 
the felled trees, they rushed to the parapets. The surprised 
garrison scarcely attempted a defence. To drive it out and turn 
the guns against the other Federal works, was the task of a 
moment. A cry of triumph announced that the Confederates 


were masters of the fort. They found there 9 guns, 8 mortars, 
and took 500 prisoners, one a generaL But after this first success, 
whether because the sight of the formidable works still remaining 
to be captured discouraged them, or because the fatigue of so long 
a struggle had exhausted them, or because of the delay of the re- 
inforcements in coming to their help, Gordon's soldiers hesitated 
to go on. The column which assaulted Fort Haskell, did it so 
feebly, that it resulted in nothing. The Federals, recovered from 
their surprise, opened right and left 3n overwhelming fire on 
Fort Steadman. Left unsupported by his demoralized soldiers, 
General Gordon had all the difficulty in the world to lead back 
one-fourth of them. Fort Steadman fell again into the hands of 
the Federals. The Confederates lost zooo men. This was the 
last offensive movement on the part of the army of Northern 

Nothing remained for the Southern chief but to resist, as long 
as possible, the immense avalanche of foes ready to crush him. 

The first idea of his slow and prudent adversary was to await 
General Sherman's arrival before risking a general attack. This 
fact alone is the most eloquent tribute of praise that can be paid 
to Lee, when one remembers he had but 30,000 men to oppose 
to Grant's 1 50,000 1 Fearing, however, lest Johnston might 
succeed in joining Lee if Sherman quitted the banks of the 
Roanoke, Grant decided on a final assault without delay. 

The arrival of a reinforcement at this auspicious moment con- 
firmed his decision. General Sheridan, who had been charged to 
march into North Carolina in order to intercept Lee's retreat in 
that direction — for Grant expected day by day to see him retreat 
^General Sheridan, hindered by the rise of the James River, had 
been unable to execute this plan, and so brought back to the 
Federal commander his 10,000 e.xcellent cavalry troops, 

The final hour approached. On the 29th of March, Lee learnt 
that the enemy was directuig his columns in close order towards 
his extreme right. He comprehended that the intention was to 


f /turn him on the White Oak Road. This position covered the 
railway of Southside, the only remaining road by which the 
Confederates received their provisions. 

Grant was effecting this movement, no longer with detached 
corps. A portion of his whole army was being drawn up in 
columns mutually supporting each other, and provisioned for 
several days. He hoped to hide the movement, at any rate, for 
some hours, but Lee penetrated it, on receiving the earliest reports 
of his scouts. He could not think of completely stripping all his 
lines of defence in the centre and on the left. Already, his army 
was insufficient to cover this long line of forty miles ; to withdraw - 
troops from any one point to reinforce another that was menaced, 
was to expose himself to certain destruction. What, then, was. to 
be done to maintain his position with so few men and so few 
horses ? Nothing, but to supplement the number with the energy 
of despair ; and this he attempted. 

Uncertain whether there would not be a simultaneous attack on 
the left wing, Lee was obliged to leave there Longstreet's whole 
force. He enjoined him, if he became assured that Grant did not 
mean to assault him, at once to march on Petersburg with all the 
troops not absolutely necessary for the defence. 

Uniting, massmg all that he could find, leaving with Gordon, 
in the centre, only 7000 men, to keep the nine miles of works 
before and around Petersburg, Lee, on the morning of March 31st, 
succeeded in putting in line on his menaced right 1 7,000 men, of 
whom 2000 were cavalry, under Fitz-Lee. They were cavalry 
only in name. General Lee, speaking of the vaunted exploits of 
Sheridan, said that his " victories were only gained when the South 
had no more horses for its cavalry, and no more men to mount 
what few foundered horses it could get together." 

Happily for the Confederates, a frightful tempest, which lasted 
all the 30th, much retarded the march of the Federal columns, 
and the roads, on the morning of the 31st, were in such a wretched 
condition, that Grant hesitated to advance. 

^^^F Lee posted li 
^^^Vhite Oak Ro£ 


Lee posted his troops behind the works which protected the 
ite Oak Road. Further west, four or five miles off, the Con- 
federates occupied an important fortified position. Five Forks, a 
cross-way where five roads met. Towards this, a strategic point of 
immense consequence, all the efforts of the two armies insensibly 

The part of resisting to the bitter end, in spite of the prodigious 
disproportion in numbers, taken by Lee, ought not to be attributed - 
to the desperate resolution of a man who stakes his all. He had 
the well-founded hope that, if be vigorously repulsed the Federal 
attack on his right, there would ensue a scene of confusion and 
disorder among his adversaries, which would permit him to retire 
to Lynchburg. It was not the first time all the chances had been 
against him, and he yet had issued triumphant The appearance of 
his veterans, hardened to everything, ready to brave no matter 
what perils, gave him the assurance that he had in them the 
requisite energy to enable him to retire his army from the bad 
pass to which it had been brought. 

The events of the following days, up to a certain point, com- 
pletely justified him, and if he failed finally, still he was within the 
merest iriBe of getting out of his enemy's clutches. 

Grant's forces were not al! in line near Boydton Road, beyond 
Hatch er's_iun, when Lee, on the moniing^~the 31st of March, 
forestalled him, by marching on his heads of columns in the most 
furious manner. Defeating the first divisions in his path, the 
Southern chief appeared on the point of snatching from fortune a 
victory which would decide the fate of the campaign. But he was 
presently fighting with masses of new troops, and his meagre 
battalions could not struggle in the open against forces so over- 
whelming. It was, therefore, necessary for his soldiers to retreat 
behind their works of defence, but only to recommence the con- 
flict elsewhere. Five Forks, that important point, had just falleri\j»J 
into the hands of General Sheridan. Lee drove him from it, aniy I 
General Pickett pursued the enemy to Dinwiddie Court House. / J 


At nightfall, Sheridan, still on the defensive, sent Grant word, 
that, without reinforcements, he could not renew the struggle next 
day. On the morning of April ist, the sth Federal corps, which 
had marched all night, joined hinL But General Lee, also, having • 
no wish to leave his soldiers so exposed, had re-entered the Five 
Forks' lines. 

On April ist, Sheridan, at head of 40,000 men, rapidly traversed 
the two miles separating him from Five Forks. The exhausted 
survivors of P ickett and Johnson's divisions opposed but a feeble 
resistance to this avalanche. Taken in front and on the two 
flanks, after attempting an impossible defence, more than 5000 of 
them were made prisoners; the rest were dispersed and hotly 
pursued by the Federal cavalry. All the Confederate right was 
compromised, and Southside Railway became the enemy's. 

Although, in effect, this action was decisive, the Federal general- 
in-chief wished to risk nothing. All the Northern artillery received 
orders to bombard the Confederate lines along their whole extent, 
and during the remaining part of April ist, a shower of shells and 
cannon-balls fell on Petersburg and its environs. The assault was 
not to be till the next day, April 2nd. But the Confederate lines 
were so badly manned, that at any point whatever the Federal 
chief might easily have broken through on the ist. 

Longstreet was still retained to the north of the James, in order 
to protect the railway leading to Richmond, as well as the ap- 
proaches to the city. Seeing the enemy always in force before 
him, he had been unable to strip his already feeble lines in even 
the slightest degree. The only forces remaining to Lee to defend 
his centre, which rested on Petersburg, were what was left of 
Qordon and A. P^jlill'stwo corps. A splendid sun illuminated 
the morning of April 2nd. On all sides, and simultaneously , the 
Federal columns marched against the Confederate lines. Driven 
back into the suburbs of the town, Gordon's forces there re-formed 
a line of m terior defe^qfi^ . The F^dftral 9th corp^ jvas stopped by 
this magnificent attitude. On the right, A. P. Hill, with some 


remnants of regiments and a few artillerymen, seemed unable to 
resist The Confederate aimy was on the point of being cut in 
two. Luclcily, atlhis place, two fortified redoubts, commanding 
the approaches of the River Appomattox, offered a suitable rally- 
ing ground. One of them, Fo rt Alexand er, was speedily taken by 
the ever-mounting wave of invaders. The other, Fort Gregg, 
must be defended at all hazards, and to the last extremity, in order 
to give the Confederate army time to contract its hues around 
Petersburg, and there concentrate what remained of its forces. 

For two hours the efforts of the enemy to take it were fruitless 
against the desperate defence of the little garrison. At length, at 
seven o'clock a.m, a last charge of the Federals carried them to 
the ditcK The front ranks, being received with a close fire, paid 
for their audacity with their lives, but in the end the assailants 
penetrated on all sides into the fort. Of the 250 defenders, only 
thirty survived to fall aUve into the hands of the Northerners. This 
precious interval of delay in the march of the Federal army per- 
mitted Lee, whom Longstreet had just joined, to concentrate his 
last means of resistance (15,000 men) behind his t]u£ii line of 
defence. This line, of small extent, but very strong, commenced 
from the River Appomattox, higher up than Petersburg, and having , 
gone round the suburbs, rejoined the river below the town. 

Several assaults on this line were of no avail. In repulsing one 
of these attacks General A. P. Hill, one of the best of Lee's 
lieutenants, of whom we have often had to speak, met with his 
death. At nightfall the Confederates were still masters of Peters- 
burg, although Grant, who had 150,000 men with him, might easily 
have concentrated 100,000 of them against the last defenders of 
. this little town, 
f With the night Lee executed his plan of retreat. All the roads 
south of the Appomattox having fallen -beneath the power of the 
Federals, it was necessary to withdraw in a direction north of the 
river, which thus seri'ed as a line of defence, Lee, who m HOthtrag 
seemed to trouble, had byJio-meaBs, as-w«-bave seea, renounced 


the hope of reaching North Carolina, or, at the worst, the Alleghany 
Mountains, in the west of Virginia. He determined, therefore, to 
march quicker than the^ bulk of his adversaries, and rout all the 

5 * > "^ ♦ r r 

detached corps wii o sought to bar his passage.^ ' The only outward 
proof which he gave of the gravity of the situation was to gird on 
his sword, which he very rarely did. On the morning of the 2nd, 
on seeing his lines forced, the Confederate chief had contented 
himself with saying to the commander of his staff. Colonel 
Marshall, in the most natural tone possible, "This is very bad 
for us, Colonel. As I told them at Richmond, the cord has been 
so stretched as to end by snapping." 

(In the morning he had informed the government at Richmond 
that Grant had forced his lines, and that he intended w^i night to 
evacuate Petersburg. Q^ders-TOA^jeea jseni with the trtntiost teste 
te-all the troops north of the James River to rally round him m-im 
urge»ey. When night came the Confederates began to cross the 
Appomattox. This movement was effected without disturbance 
from the Federals. The bridge was then burnt.) 

The Southern army taking a road which, at some distance from 
the north bank of the river, turns to the west, began its march 
through the semi-obscurity. Lee himself watched the operation. 
On foot, with his horse's bridle in his hand, he stood at the cross- 
ing of the twQ roads, and gave his orders with the greatest tran- 
quillity. His voice betrayed no trace .of emotion, his behaviour 
was as calm as if he were taking part in a review. When the 
rearguard had defiled, he mounted and followed his men. 

While the burning of the magazines at Petersburg, to which they 
had set fire, illuminated the heavens with lurid tints, and filled the 
air with the noise of explosions, the remnants of the Virginian 
army, about 15,000 men, travelled on in darkness. All along 
the line hitherto occupied by the Confederates, from Petersburg 
to Richmond, explosion followed explosion in rapid succession, 
shaking the ground like an earthquake. 

Generals Mahone and Ewell, with the Richmond garrison, 


joined Lee in the morning of April 3rd. At braak of day his army 
was nearly sixteen miles from Petersburg, j Under such circum- 
stances one would have expected to find the Confederate troops, 
\ after the reverses they had just sustained, downcast and dis- ' 
couraged. Quite die contrary ; the pleasure of perceiving them- 
selves out of those abotainahle trenches, in the open air, in the 
midst of the budding woods, rendered them almost joyful. 

Their commander shared, if not their confidence, at least their 
relief at having quitted the lines. But the question of victuals out- 
weighed all his other cares. During the winter he had already 
had much difficulty in feeding his soldiers on quarter-rations. | On 
withdrawing from Petersburg, Lee felt he would have to live as 
I best he could in the districts through which he passed. He had 

I consequently already taken preliminary measures by ordering 

I that a dep6t for provisions should be established at Amelia Court 

I House, \ The prospect of finding there necessaries for his soldiers 

tmdoubtedly contributed to support him at this difficult moment. 
But this was the last ray of hope granted him. Whether his ^^^^ 
orders had been badly understood, wliether there had been an in- ^^^H 
voluntary error, or whether there was some other cause/the train |^^1 
which should have unloaded the provisions at Ameha Court House | j 
did not stop there, but carried them on to Richmond, where they , , 
fell uito the hands of the Federals, who were at length masters of 
the city. [Thus, when, after some unforeseen delays caused by the 
rising of the Appomattox, Lee reached Ameha Court HojKe, , 

tl^Kacds of thirty-seven miles from Petersburg,Ei the head ofnis 
soldiers, worn out by fatigue and hunger, what was the general con- 
sternation to find no victuals ! All hope of bringing the retreat 
to a happy termination from that moment had to be abandoned ! 
On ali faces was marked the deepest dejection. Before so cruel 
^^^ ii stroke of fate Lee comprehen<!ed that all was over, and for the ^J 

^^^k first time his countenance displayed the depth of his despondency. M^| 
^^^H Hitherto he had had no doubt as to the possibihty of forcing his ^^^H 
^^^V way through, but only on condition that his men were fed ; for an ^^^| 


army that eats not can neither march nor fight. \ He was obliged 
to halt, and send foraging parties into the country round, ak-ea^ 
quite impe vwish ^d. Meanwhile Grant's columns in close masses 
were gaining on him, advancing to cut off the Confederate retreat. 
The want of a few thousand pounds weight of bread and meat had 
finished the war. i ..^.. ',. .« <". 'i'l-io. 

^ The days of the 5th and 6th,— -Precious moments which should 
have been allowed to the Southern chief in order to maintain a 
sufficient distance between him and those who were pursuing, — ^ 
were passed in getting together a little provision. Without this 
fatal mistake, which must be attributed to the stupidity of the 
Richmond Government, Lee would have been able to keep his 
Iktle army together, and pass Burkesville safeibd oouttd before the 
enemy could overtake him. The time lost at Amelia Court 
House permitted Sheridan, whose cavalry was much in advance of 
the rest of the Federal army, to intercept the Confederates' line . of 
retreat. In the afternoon of the 4th he arrived with 18,000 Korees''^ 
at Jetersville, on the Danville Railway, about six miles south-west 
of Amelia Court House. Meade next day joined him with two 
corps of infantry. J^^^^ 

General Lee, on perceiving this new p««l, immediately abandoned 
his march towards North Carolina, and, turning west, tried to 
/ reach Lynchburg. Resuming his march on the night of April 
5 th, he directed itpn Fjirmville, about thirty miles off, through an 
uneven country, "V&SS^ Ibielioped more easily to get to the moun- 
tains. At the momeoty t haFcfofo , when Grant was making ^arrag^ 7 ^P 
ments to attack Lee at Amelia Court House, it was pyercetved «' 
had gone off towards Faimville. AxokHnn immediately Parted 
in pursuit ; two other C Q lilmnc took two parallel roads north and 
south of the Confederate line of retreat respectively, while a 
fourth Federal corps marched from Burkesville on Farmville to 
destroy the bridge aXwa^- place. / y . 

Lee, to feed his soldiers, w as oblige d partl y to disperse them ; 
consequently many of these foragers were made prispners. The 


GENERAL LEE. \\ " 313 

sufferings of his soldiers became uwo gata b k^ Many kept them- 
selves alive by eating buds and young shoots. The horses and 
mules perished by hundreds, for want of provender. The greater 
part of the waggons had to be burnt, and the guns buried. All 
around the soldiera fell from weakness, or threw away their rifles 
for want of strength to carry them. Every moment the enemy's 
squadrons became bolder, and harassed the flanks of the little 
army ; waggons set on fire, the ammunition kept blowing up ; 
showers of cannon-balls swept the Confederate ranks, which left 
behind a long train of dead and wounded. 

Gradually the circle around Lee's soldiers was closing in, but 
they were no less resolved to struggle as long as human nature 
would allow them. Their general, recovered from his momentary 
dejection, thought only of making the best use of his acquaintance 
with the country and of the devotion of his heroic soldiers. 

(On the 6th, in the evening, at Deatonsville, Sheridan vigorously 
attacked witli- flir ee of hio (ti viaioTW the train of carriages, defeat- 
ing Pickett'i divisiun, redured-to-800-iiien, taking -sis teen -guns,-^ 

iaifiP-number- ttP-primnpr';, nnri flpgrnyjpjr 4©«waggons. ( Ewell {j(J"C** 

hastened to his colleague's succour with his corps of 42oqymen^ 
But all the Federals 6th coqjs, more than 20,000 ioSl^wSers, 
joined Sheridan's cavalry, and had noi great difficulty in over- 
whelming these [fflOf exhausted leflows/ so enfeebled that often, 
after having loaded their rifles, they let them fall, then sunk down 
themselves on them, and gav.e waj'^tp aa irresistible sleep, f While 
Ewell bravely showed a front to the Federal infantry, Sheridan's ,■ 
cavalry attacked him on the flank and in the rear. jThere was 
presently no other resource but to lower his arms, his adversaries 
being five times as numerous as his own force. The remnants of 1 
his corj>s, including General Custis Lee and three other generals, | 
were made prisoners, 

(Dn the 7th, the Federals still hotly pursued what was left of 
the Southern army. General Fitz-Lee, who formed the rearguard 
with his 1500 men, mouatedr 6B- screws, drove back and routed 


General Gregg' a t tho hoad of 6000 men, wett-- m o un t ed -and 
nj1miraH 7i^ri i|'|'" T \ making Gregg himself a prisoner ta-thd-great 
aati a facti o a of CcnGral fc ee, who-efttd-^ his nephew : " Keep your 
command together, and in good spirits, general. Don't let them 
talk of surrender. I will get you out of this." 

Lee was in advance of the Federal corps of General Ord, who 
had been despatched to destroy the bridge over the Appomattox, 
at Farmville, and the remains of the Confederate army crossed 
this river and bivouacked around tlui4ktte village. The exhaustion 
of the men, who for five days, x)f incessant marchings and fights 
had literally eaten nothing^kce^ some grains of maize and bark of 
trees, became such, that after a council of war held by the generals, 
q the commander-in-chief of the artillery. General Pendleton, was 
^ commissioned to communicate to the general-in-chief that the 
unanimous opinion of the council was, that no other course re- 
mained but to surrender. Such, however, was not Lee's view. 
" Surrender ! " exclaimed he with a fiery glance ; " I have too 
many good soldiers for that ! " 

He undoubtedly thought he should be able to reach the 
mountains, and as Jong as that chance remained he did not feel 
authorized to ^fc mTOOj g i -^the stniggle. The retreat continued. 
Before the bridges of the railway and road could be entirely burnt, 
the Federal second corps arrived, and, in spite of the desperate 
resistance of a brigade left by Gordon to effect their destruction, 
it crossed, and -ldcew*se> captured a ^fi>4^umber of prisoners. 
The same day Grant occupied Farmville. To the north of the 
village, about five miles distant, Lee had intrenched himself in a 
defensive position, covering the road to Lynchburg and, »well 
chosen to give his men a little rest, and to maintam iHWfldf till 
night. The Federals attacked, but having lost 600 men, killed 
and wounded, and receiving no reinforcements before evening, 
they were compelled to suspend operations. 

On arriving at Farmville, Grant sent the following letter to 
Lee : — 


** April 7tli, 1865. 
** General R. E. Lee, Commandmg C. S. A. 


" The result of the last week must convince you of the 

hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the army of 

Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel it is so, and regard it as 

my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further 

effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of 

the Confederate Southern army known as the Army of Northern 


" Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"U.S. Grant, 

" Lieutenant-General commanding armies 
of the United States." 

Lee received this letter the same evening. He answered 
immediately as follows : — 

** April 7th, 1865. 

" General, 

" I have received your note of this day. Though not entirely 
of the opinion you express as to the hopelessness of further 
resistance on the part of the army of Northern Virginia, I reci- 
procate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and therefore, 
before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on 

condition of its surrender. 

" Your obedient servant, 

" R. E. Lee. 

"Commanding Confederate forces." 

In the interval between the two letters Lee had, by a night 
march, put a long distance between himself and his enemies. 
General Grant answered this note : — 

** April 8tli, 1865. 

" Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of same date, 
asking the conditions on which I will accept the surrender of the 


army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply, I would 
say, that peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I 
would insist upon, namely : That the men and officers surrendered 
shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Govern- 
ment of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet 
you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you might name 
for the same purpose ( ? object), at any point agreeable to you, for 
the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the 
surrender of the army of Northern Virginia will be received. 

** Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

" U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General." 

** To General R. E. Lee." 

But the Confederates had not lost their time. On the 8th, 
in the evening, they entered Appomattox Court House. Lynch- 
burg was not more than twenty-four miles off. They were not 
near beaten yet The enemy did not show himself, and the 
Confederates began to hope that after all they would arrive at 
Lynchburg. The line of retreat followed the narrow tongue of 
land which extends between the James River and the Appomattox. 
This is the answer Lee made to the foregoing letter : 

" April 8tli, 1865. 

" General, 

" I received at a late hour your note of to-day. In mine 
of yesterday, I did not mtend to propose the surrender of the 
army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your pro- 
position. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen 
to call for the surrender of this army ; but as the restoration of 
peace should be sole object of all, I desire to know whether your* 
proposals would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you 
with a view to surrender the army of Northern Virginia, but as far 
as your proposal may affect the Confederate States forces under 
my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be 



pleased to meet you at lo a.m., to-morrow, on the old stage road 
to Richmond, between the picket hnes of the two armies, 
" Your obedient servant, 

" R. E. Lee, General." 

To this letter Grant next morning replied : 

' " April gth, 1S65. 

" General, 

" Your note of yesterday is received. I have no authority to 
treat on the subject of peace. The meeting proposed for 10 a.m. 
to-day would lead to no good. I will state, however, General, 
that I am equally anxious for peace with yourself, and the whole 
North entertams the same feeling. The tertns upon which peace 
can be had are well understood. By the South laying down its 
arms it will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of 
human lives, and hundreds of millions of property not yet de- 
stroyed. Seriously hoping that all our difficulties may be settled 
without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself, &c. 

" U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-GeneraJ." 

This answer never came to General Lee. (During this corre- 
spondence Sheridan's cavalry had arrived, on the evening of the 
8th, at Appomattox Station, on the railway leading to Lynchburg, 
about five miles beyond the Court House, thus barring the only 
way which remained open to the Confederates. Having seized 
four trains of provisions coming from Lynchburg, intended for 
Lee's army, he planted himself on the Confederate line of march, 
determined to make a stand there, well assured that in the morning 
he would be rejoined by the army of the James, while the army of 
the Potomac would press upon the Southern rear.) A brisk "'//y, 
musketry fire at the outposts, announced to Lee's veterans that_,i 3^ 
they were surrounded on all sides. *««rf*^ 

That same night, around the bivouac fire in the woods, the 
last council of war of the army of Northern Virginia was held. 



There were present, Generals Lee, Longstreet, Gordon, and 
Fitz-Lee. The commander-in-chief indicated to them their position, 
and acquainted them with his correspondence with Grant. After 
a short conversation, it was resolved that next morning the entire 
army should advance : if only the cavalry of Sheridan was before 
it, it should sweep it out of its way and pursue the march to 
Lynchburg; if, on the contrary, imposing masses of hostile 
infantry should be encountered beyond the Court House, what 
was impossible must not be attempted ; a flag of truce should go 
forward to ask General Grant to concede an interview, in order to 
agree upon the conditions on which the Southern army should lay 
down its arms. 

Much against his will. General Lee was compelled to approve 
these arrangements. Shortly after the generals separated, each 
divisionary saluting the commander-in-chief, who, on his side, 
returned their salute with grave courtesy ; then all went back to 
their posts. 

At three in the morning, Lee sent to ask Gordon, who com- 
manded the vanguard, what probability there was of an attack 
succeeding : " Tell General Lee," replied Gordon, " that my old 
corps is reduced to a frazzle (? zero), and unless I am supported 
by Longstreet heavily, I do not think we can do anything more." 
When this report was made to Lee, for the first time some words 
of discouragement escaped from his lips. After a moment's silence 
he said : " There is nothing left but to go to General Grant, and I 
would rather die a thousand deaths !" His staff was around him. 
One of his officers made this observation : ** What will history say 
of our surrendering if there is any possibility of escape ? Posterity 
will not understand it." " Yes, yes," replied Lee, " they will not 
understand our situation; but that is not the question. The 
question is, whether it is right; and if it is right I take the 

An expression of quiet confidence, of serenity almost joyful, 
had appeared in his face, instead of profound sadness : the thought 


of having to capitulate was to him bitterer than death. At the 
moment of quitting his tent, the acclamations of the soldiers were 
heard : There is Uncle Robert ! Turning to one of his officers he 
said to him, in a tone at once firm and sweet : " How easily I | 
could get rid of all this and be at rest ! I have only to ride along 
the hnes and all will be over !" Then, after a moment's silence 
he added, with a deep sigh : " But it is our duty to Uve. What / 
will become of the women and children of the South, if we are not. 
here to protect them ?" 

At length the time had come when it would be decided whether 
retreat was still possible. To General Gordon, who had nobly 
distinguished himself in the later mihtary operations, fell the 
command of the attacking column. The Confederate army con- 
sisted of only 8000 men, armed with rifles. Gordon's 2000 men 
formed the van. The remains of various corps under Longstreet 
were in the rear. Between the two was placed all that was left 
of the army trains, together with several thousands of stragglers 
without arms, hardly able to drag themselves along, so much had 
cold and hunger played havoc with them. The cavalry, 2000 
sabres, mounted on gaunt lean horses, were in no condition to 
render any service. Such was the army preparing to pierce the 
lines of Sheridan. 

Marching beyond Appomattox Court House, Gordon briskly 

f \\ attacked the enemy, supported by Fitz-Lee's cavalry and Colonel 

"*/ ^ Carter's artillery. The dash of his soldiers was such that he 

^ drove all the Federal troops before him over a space of about a 


mile and a half. But then he found in his front a compact mass 
of infantry, estimated, on the authority of the Federal officers 
themselves, at 80,000 men ! Having behind him only 5000 
bayonets, there was no possibility of advancing. Already the 
Federal mass was moving to rush on him, when the arrival of a 
flag of truce spared a carnage rendered useless. General Lee, 
appreciating the absolutely desperate condition in which he was, 
had despatched this flag of truce to Grant, asking him to treat. 


It was this incident which arrested the offensive movement of the 
Federals. Grant conceded the interview requested. 

The two armies remained with their arms in their hands during 
the conference of their two commanders, which took place at a 
farmhouse near the Court House. General Lee was attended by 
Colonel Marshall, of his staff: several Federal officers accom- 
panied General Grant. The latter was perfectly courteous. Lee 
remained impassive. The fatigues of the latter days had indeed 
left traces on his emaciated features. His form was erect ; look, 
confident ; behaviour, dignified and polite. He confined himself 
to treating of the affair for which they were assembled. Seated 
at a small deal table, the two generals drew up and exchanged 
the two following documents : 

** Appomattox Court House, Virginia, 
"April 9th, 1865. 

" General, 

" In accordance with my letter to you of the 8th inst., I 
propose to receive the surrender of the army of Northern 
Virginia on the following terms, to wit : Rolls of all the officers 
and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an 
officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer 
or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their 
individual paroles not to take up arms against the United States 
until properly exchanged; and each company or regimental 
commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands. 
The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, 
and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. 
This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their 
private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will 
be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United 
States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the 
laws in force where they may reside. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

" U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General." 



** Head-Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 

"AprUgth, 1865. 

" General, 

" I have received your letter of this date, containing the 
terms of the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as 
proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those 
expressed in your letter of the 8th inst, they are accepted. I will 
proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations 
into effect. 

" Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

" R. E. Lee, General." 

The interview ended the two generals parted. Lee, remount- 
ing his courser, returned to his head-quarters. The emotion of 
the Confederates, on seeing their adored chief again, and learning 
what had passed, cannot be described. Breaking their ranks, 
they rushed to him, seeking to seize his hand, calUng down on his 
head the blessings of the Most High, begging Heaven, with tears 
in their eyes, to sustain him in this latest trial. " God help you, 
General!" resounded on all sides. This spontaneous ovation 
touched him deeply. With eyes brimful through emotion, he cast 
on his men a look of inexpressible pride, and with a trembling 
voice said to them : " Men, we have fought through the war 
together. I have done the best I could for you. My heart is 
too full to say more !" 

The victors were magnanimous. They abstained from every 
appearance of insult towards the vanquished. Abundant victuals 
were distributed to tlie prisoners, who were dying of hunger. 

The day after the capitulation, Lee addressed to his heroic 
soldiers an order of the day, his final adieu to them : 

" Head-Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 

April loth, 1865. 

"After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed 
courage and fortitude, the army of Northern Virginia has been 
compelled to jrield to overwhelming numbers and resources. 



" I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles, 
who have remained steadfast to the last, that I ;have consented to 
this result from no distrust of them ; but, feeling that valour and 
devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the 
loss that would have attended the continuation of the contest, I 
have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past 
services have endeared them to their countrymen. 

" By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return 
to their home's, and remain there until exchanged. 

"You will take with yoii the satisfaction that proceeds from 
the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly 
pray that a merciful God- will extend to you His blessing and 

" With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion 
to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kindness 
and generous consideration of myself, I bid you, soldiers, an 
aflfectionate farewell. 

" R. E. Lee, General." 

On the 1 2th of April, the Confederate army of Virginia was 
formed into divisions for the last time. Conducted to a place 
near Appomattox Court House, the soldier-prisoners had there to 
park their artillery, pile their rifles, lay down their accoutrements, 
and finally to part for ever from those flags they had so much 
loved. 7500 men lowered their arms, but nearly 18,000 stragglers 
without arms also took advantage of the capitulation. 2000 
cavalry, under Fitzhugh Lee and Rosser had escaped before 
Sheridan's troops had closed in all the ways. Some hours later, 
however, they likewise surrendered. General Grant had the 
delicacy to delegate one of his generals to receive the prisoners. 
He himself abstained from appearing at the ceremony. 

The melancholy details of the capitulation over. General Lee, 
a simple prisoner on parole, hke the meanest of his soldiers, 
prepared to return to Richmond. Tearing himself away from the 


passionate display of affection on the part of his soldiers, he 
departed towards. the city. His veterans saw him for the last 
time on his faithful Traveller^ who, without a scratch, had passed 
through all the dangers of this campaign. His escort was com- 
posed of a detachment of Federal cavalry, preceded by an ensign. 
Twenty-five Confederate officers accompanied him. Several 
waggons filled with baggage and personal effects followed, among 
other things the little open carriage of which Lee had made use 
over and over again during the war, when> through accident or 
sickness, he could not ride on horseback'. It was generally in 
this he used to lay aside choice provisions for the wounded. 

All along the road Lee appeared much more concerned about 
the sad state to which the unhappy inhabitants were reduced, 
than about his own personal situation. He was exceedingly 
affected at the delicate care with which these poor folk received 
him, preparing for him warm repasts, and evincing towards him 
all the tokens of loving respect. Notwithstanding hospitable 
offers made to him, he continued to sleep on the bare ground, 
wishing in nothing to be better treated than his companions on 
the road. Even at his brother's house he passed the night in his 
little carriage. On approaching Richmond he went in front of 
his escort, followed only by a few officers, and crossed the James 
on pontoons, the ordinary bridge having been burnt when the 
Confederates evacuated the town. The appearance of Richmond 
was desolate. Much of the lower part of the city had been burnt 
on the 3rd of April, and all around nothing was seen but blackened 

A few persons having recognised the general, the report of his 
arrival rapidly spread; immediately the inhabitants crowded 
round him, welcoming him with acclamations, waving their hats 
and handkerchiefs. Desirous to avoid all public manifestations, 
the illustrious prisoner, bowing to his numerous admirers, escaped 
from this impromptu ovation as soon as he could, and presently 
reached the house where his family waited for him. The Federal 

Y 2 


soldiers, grouped round the door, gave him a militaty salute. It 
was with great difficulty he dismounted, such was the crowd, 
everybody wishing to shake his hand, hear his voice, or touch his 
person : some actually embraced the faithful Traveller that had 
borne him safe and sound through so many dangers. Hastening 
to cross the threshold of his house, which the impassioned admira- 
tion of his fellow-citizens had the good taste to respect, he kept 
there constantly within doors, going out only at night, in order to 
avoid demonstrations as melancholy as useless, and which besides 
might attract the anger of the Federal authorities towards the 
people of Richmond, who had already had a sad experience. 
Nevertheless, his door continued to be besieged by the curious, 
and by Confederate soldiers returning to their firesides, who had 
a wish to see their general once more. 



lee's last years at LEXINGTON. — HIS DEATH, OCTOBER 12, 187a 

In the latter years of Lee's life, the greatness and sweetness of his 
character, two qualities rarely combined, contributed to form an 
extraordinary and charming whole. The misfortune and humilia- 
tion of defeat never succeeded in drawing from him a single word 
of anger or impatience when speaking of the North. When, in 
his presence, sentiments of hatred were heard, he unhesitatingly 
condemned them, thus setting an example of moderation and 
charity which, let us hope, found many imitators. He wished, by 
the manner in which he bore his private misfortunes, to reconcile 
the Southern populations to the harshness of their lot If he 
learnt of young people contemplating emigration from their 
country to settle with the foreigner, he reminded them that the 
true way of displaying their love for the South was to remain 
there, and assist in healing her bleeding wounds. The constant 
aim proposed to himself was to calm and heal ulcerated hearts. 
It was on the rising generation that he especially founded his 
hopes ; it was to this he devoted the remainder of his life, refusing 
all the generous offers and splendid situations proposed to him, 
as well in various cities of the United States as in England and 
Ireland. " I am deeply grateful," said he, " but I cannot consent 
to desert my native State in the hour of her adversity. I must 
abide her fortunes and share her fate." 

Some months after the end of the war. General Lee accepted 


the presidency of the State College of Virginia at Lexington. 
This college — and, for that matter, all the district — found great 
difficulty in recovering from its disasters. The directors of 
Washington College (such was its name) thought of offering the 
presidency to General Lee, hoping thus to attract a greater 
number of students to it, and likewise to give the general a 
substantial testimony of their own admiration and of the affection 
borne to him by the State. 

The war had engulfed all Lee's fortune, and it was absolutely 
necessary, since he refused all offers of aid, that he should find 
some occupation to earn his living at. 

At first he had some scruples about accepting, as is proved by 
a fine letter he wrote the directors in August, 1865. He did not 
consider himself in a position to instruct youth, or to do anything 
except exercise a general surveillance and discipline. But the most 
serious objection in his opinion was, that, being excluded from 
the amnesty of the preceding 29th of May, the choice of him to 
superintend might cause the feelings of hostility of which he was 
the object to be reflected on the college. 

" It is particularly incumbent on those charged with the in- 
struction of the young," said he, " to set them an example of sub- 
mission to authority. I could not consent to be the cause of 
animadversion upon the college." He finished by declaring that 
he was at the disposal of the directors if his scruples appeared to 
them unfounded or exaggerated. 

On the ist of October he entered on his duties. His new post 
was not a sinecure ; it was not there he could find the repose of 
which his mind and body stood in so much need. The war had 
ruined the college. With library pillaged, building destroyed, all 
its professors dispersed, its allotted fupds reduced to nothing; 
everything had to be restored. Lee devoted himself heart and 
soul to this new task. The celebrity of his name attracted 
sympathy from all parts of the world, and students flowed in in 
gieat numbers, so that in 1870 there were upwards of 500. 


In spite of the most seductive offers made to him (for instance, 
that of 250,000 francs a-year from a manufacturing company at 
New York, fixed salary, if he would become the chairman), his 
invariable answer was : " My duties at the college take up all my 
time, and I cannot consent to receive a salary for which I should 
do nothing." At Washington College he had 25,000 francs and 

He had found a mission, that of retrieving the fortunes of the 
college, giving to the young people about him lessons in religion, 
morality, and obedience, and, through the medium of his youthful 
pupils, effecting a reaction against the demoralizing tendencies of 
the age. This mission he nobly fulfilled He became adored by 
all these young men, and ended by insensibly giving to all the 
establishment the impress of his own personal character. 

It was very rare that he officially addressed the students. On 
such occasions appeared what they called " one of his orders of 
the day," and the appeal of their much loved president was always 
listened to. We offer here a specimen : 

** Washington College, November 26th, 1866. 

" The Faculty desire to call the attention of the students to 
the disturbances which occurred in the streets of Lexington on the 
nights of Friday and Saturday last. They believe that none can 
contemplate them with pleasure, or can find any reasonable 
grounds for their justification. These acts are said to have been 
committed by students of the college, with the apparent object of 
disturbing the peace and quiet of a town whose inhabitants have 
opened their doors for their reception and accommodation, and 
who are always ready to administer to their comfort and pleasure. 

" It requires but little consideration to see the error of such 
conduct, which could only have proceeded from thoughtlessness 
and a want of reflection. The Faculty, therefore, appeal to the 
honour and self-respect of the students to prevent any similar 
occurrence, trusting that their sense of what is due to themselves, 


their parents, and the mstitution to which they belong, will be 
more effectual in teaching them what is right and manly, than any- 
thing they can say 

" R. E. Lee, 
" President of Washington College." 

He gave himself up to this work of reorganization as if he had 
never had any other ambition. " I am delighted with my civil 
duties," he wrote. This new life was at least a relief and allevia- 
tion of the cruel remembrances of the past. This college, which 
he had found poor, disorganized, forsaken, ruined, he left rich, 
prosperous, and overflowing with students. 

Lee appeared in public only twice or thrice during this later 
portion of his life. The Congress at Washington had appointed a 
" Committee of reconstruction " to inquire into the state of affairs 
in the South. The Confederate ex-commander was summoned as 
a witness. The astonishment which the number and nature of 
the questions addressed to him must excite, can only yield to the 
truly extraordinary patience of which he gave proof. Not only 
did the Committee want to know the opinions of the Southern 
populations on all possible points, social and political, but it sought 
to make the general set forth his ideas on the actual state, the 
intellectual capacity, and probable future of the negro race. 

The calm dignity, good sense, and frankness of his replies, 
formed a striking set-off to the want of tact and the unsuitableness 
of some of the interrogations. 

He did not try in any way to extenuate his share in the 
responsibiUty of the war, or to hide his true sentiments, although 
he maintained a very natural reserve. 

When asked by the President of the Committee whether he 
thought that in case of a war between the United States and a 
foreign power, Virginia would profit by the opportunity for a new 
rising, Lee repUed : " I cannot answer with any certainty on that 
point ; I do not know how far they might be actuated by their 



feelings ; I have nothing whatever to base an opinion upon ; so 
far as I know, they contemplate nothing of the kind now ; what 
may happen in the future I cannot say." 

" Do you not frequently hear," continued the President, " in 
your intercourse with secessionists in Virginia, expressions of a 
hope that such a war may break out ?" 

" I cannot say that I have heard it ; on the contrary, I have 
heard persons, — I do not know whether you call them secessionists 
or not, I mean those people in Virginia with whom I associate, — 
express the hope that the country may not be led into a war." 

Then, on being asked, whether, in case of war, he would join 
the foreigner against the United States Government, his reply 
was : "I have no disposition now to do it, and I never had." 

" Suppose," to cite another question addressed to him by the 
President, "suppose a jury was impanelled in your own neighbour- 
hood, in Virginia, would it be possible to convict, for instance, 
Jefferson Davis, for having levied war upon the United States, 
and thus having committed the crime of treason ?" 

** I think it is very probable that they would not consider he 
had committed treason." 

" In what light would the jury view Davis's conduct ? What 
would be their excuse or justification ? How would they escape 
in their own mind ?" 

"So far as I know, they look upon the action of the State in 
withdrawing itself from the Government of the United States as 
carrying the individuals along with it, — that the State was 
responsible for the act, not the individuals ; and that the ordi- 
nance of secession, so called, or those acts of the State which 
recognized a condition of war between the State and the general 
Government, stood as their justification for their bearing arms 
against the Government of the United States. I think they would 
consider the act of the State as legitimate ; that they were merely 
using the reserved rights which they were entitled to do." 

"State, if you please, — and if you are disinclined to answer the 


question you need not do so — what your own personal views on 
that question are." 

"That was my view; that the act of Virginia, in withdrawing 
herself from the United States, carried me along as a citizen of 
Virginia, and that her laws and her acts were binding on me." 

In consequence of an allusion made by the President, Lee 
observed : " I may have said, and may have believed, that the 
position which the two sections held to each other was brought 
about by the politicians of the country ; that the great masses 
of the people, if they understood the real question, would have 

avoided it But I did believe at the time that it was 

an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided 
if forbearance and wisdom had been practised on both sides." 

The President continued : *' You say that you do not recollect 
having sworn allegiance and fidelity to the Confederate govern- 
ment ?" 

Lee replied without hesitation : ** I do not recollect it, nor do I 
know it was ever required. I was regularly commissioned in the 
army of the Confederate States, but I really do not recollect that 
that oath was required. If it was required, I have no doubt I 
took it ; or, if it had been required, I would have taken it." 

After reading this frank and proud reply, some idea may be 
formed of the pain it cost Lee to transmit a demand for pardon to 
the United States Government. This application has been judged 
of in many different manners, and to many of his admirers in the 
South it still remains a subject of sore regret. Yet what grander 
proof could he have given of the greatness of his heart ? Of what 
personal gain would a pardon be to him ? The success or failure 
of the application was perfectly indifferent to him. What crueller 
sacrifice could there be for a soul so proud, so convinced of the 
justice of the cause for which he had fought, than that of present- 
ing, so to speak, a halter for his own neck? Nevertheless he 
submitted to this final humiliation, supported by that sentiment of 
duty which, to the very end, was his master, his ruler, his guide 


in everything. He felt the immense importance of the example 
he was about to set All his old soldiers and thousands of his 
fellow-citizens were, . according to the new laws, compelled to 
demand the benefit of the amnesty, and if they did not obtain it, 
they lost their civil rights. Thousands of brave veterans, if they 
would not leave their families to die of starvation, were reduced 
by stern necessity to take this mournful step. Lee thought that his 
duty to. his old comrades required that he also should drink the 
bitter cup to the very dregs. Having shared their glory, he ought 
also to share their humiliation. 

This feature in the life of the Southern commander is a brilUant 
one. For the rest, pardon was refused to him. 

His unchangeable sweetness, the absence of all rancour, of all 
bitterness of feeling so natural to the vanquished, raised him high 
above the prejudices and hatreds of the day, and exhibited him, to 
all who came, as a living example of Christian charity. Although 
he wished everybody to remain faithful to the old traditions of the 
South in all that appertained to honour, virtue, and hospitality, yet 
he set himself to work to root up those animosities, those provincial 
rivalries, which led only to ruin. 

To a mother, who brought him her two sons, loudly expressing 
her hatred of the North, he said, " Madam, don't bring up your 
sons to detest the United States Government. Recollect that we 
form but one country, now. Abandon all these local animosities, 
and make your sons Americans." 

Here again is a charming incident, which will well illustrate his 
goodness : One of his friends, on passing by Lee's garden-gate, 
found him conversing with a man poorly clad, to whom he had 
just given something, and who appeared exceedingly happy at the 
general's courteous welcome. Presently the man saluted him and 
withdrew. " That is one of our old soldiers in want," explained 
Lee. Naturally enough the friend thought he meant some Con- 
federate veteran, when Lee, lowering his voice, added : " He was 
not on our side, but that doesn't signify." 


During the war, the religious side of his character was not so 
strikingly revealed as in the case of General Jackson. But in his 
retreat, far from the world, in the midst of his meditations on the 
sufferings of his country, it was very natural that this distinctive 
feature of his soul should strongly assert itself. Perceiving more 
plainly than ever the inability of man to remedy evil, is it astonish- 
ing that he should more and more concentrate his thoughts on God ? 
• Although profoundly Christian, there was no narrowness in his 
piety. On one occasion, when importunately questioned as to his 
thoughts on Apostolic succession, he replied with great simplicity : 
" I have never troubled myself to think about such matters, I have 
merely endeavoured to be a Christian." 

One day, in a review near Winchester, while passing in front of 
the chaplain, he lifted his hat, saying : " I salute the Church of 
God!" In the neighbourhood of Petersburg, he was observed 
humbly kneeling on his knees a short distance from the high road, 
on which his army was at that moment defiling. When he invaded 


Pennsylvania, certain influence was brought to. bear upon him to 
use reprisals, and act as the Federals had acted in Virginia. " No," 
replied he, " were I to permit it, I could not ask God to bless our 

After his death, a much used Bible was found in his room. On 
the first page were these words : " R. E. Lee, lieutenant-colonel, 
army of the United States.'* Thus for years, in Mexico, and in 
the prairies of the West, this illustrious, worthy man had sought to 
regulate his life according to the precepts of the Gospel. 

When congratulated on the degree of prosperity which the 
college enjoyed under his direction : " It would be a bitter disap- 
pointment to me," said he, " if I did not attain the principal end I 
proposed to myself in coming here, and if the young men of whom 
I have charge did not become true Christians ! " 

The poor and necessitous he never forgot He gave away 
much, — much, that is, when his very moderate resources are con- 
sidered ; for the vast estates he possessed before the war had been 


confiscated. As regards these, this is a convenient place to 
quote a fragment of a letter which he wrote to a friend, who had 
greatly interested himself to obtain a restitution to General Lee's 
wife of the souvenirs and precious objects which had belonged 
to Washington, and which came to her from her father. These 
objects had been carried off by the Federals from Arlington, 
Lee's residence before the war. 

"Lexington, February 12th, 1869. 

" . . . . Mrs. Lee has determined to act upon your 
suggestion, and apply to President Johnson for such of the relics 
from Arlington as are in the Patent Office. From what I have 
learned, a great many things formerly belonging to General 
Washington, bequeathed to her by her father, in the shape of 
books, furniture, camp equipage, &c., were carried away by in- 
dividuals, and are now scattered over the land. I hope the 
possessors appreciate them, and may imitate the example of 
their original owner, whose conduct must at times be brought to 
their recollection by these silent monitors. In this they will 
accomplish good to the country." 

Congress was opposed to the making of this restitution. 

Lee respected all forms that religious feeling could take. 
During the latter days of the dismal struggle under Petersburg, a 
Jewish soldier petitioned the general for leave to go to Richmond 
to keep the Passover. The man's captain had written on the 
margin of the petition a sharp note, unfavourable to its prayer. 
Lee, indeed, did not grant the required leave, but he stated the 
grounds of his refusal in a few courteous lines, showing that the 
mihtary situation was too critical for him to be able to accede to a 
desire in itself legitimate and praiseworthy. To the captain's note 
he added these words : " We should always be charitable towards 
those whose religion differs from ours, and, as far as we can, aid 
every one to fulfil the duties imposed upon him by his beliefl" 


The last thing he did was to assist at a parochial committee, 
held in the church at Lexington, and this last act of his was an 
act of charity. 

We now come to the end of this noble life, — a life spent in 
noble deeds, and consecrated to good actions. Death found him 
prepared. On the 28th of September, 1870, after a fatiguing day 
passed in his office, General Lee presided over the parochial 
committee of the Episcopal Church. He then returned home to 
tea, Mrs. Lee, perceiving he had a chilly appearance, told him 
so. " Thanks," replied he ; " I am warmly clothed ! " The words 
were the last which he pronounced distinctly. On sitting down, 
he opened his lips to say grace, a habit in which he never failed, 
even when under canvas, but now no sound issued from them. A 
moment afterwards he fell back in his chair, paralyzed. 

The tidings of this misfortune soon spread. During those days 
of anguish, all the districts of the South greedily awaited news of 
the illustrious invalid. Throughout he continued insensible. At 
intervals he was heard to mutter some indistinct words of war and 
combat. Once he said, in a way to be understood : " Strike my 
tent ! send for Hill 1 " 

His health had always been so robust, and he was still so 
vigorous, that, at first, the physicians did not despair of him. But 
his family knew what the physicians were ignorant of. His heart, 
overwhelmed by the weight of his country's trials, had finished by 
breaking. Congestion of the brain was only a symptom of the 
moral malady that was slowly threatening him. Every messenger 
who came had been in the habit of bringing the most touching 
appeals from his old soldiers and their families, who were dying of \ 
starvation. These sufferings, which he could not relieve, were a 
torture to him. Year by year the hope of seeing times of perfect 
peace and prosperous tranquillity return became more remote. 
This anguish, for a long time hidden, even from his relatives, 
completed its work by destroying the buoyancy of that vigorous 


He remained in a state of insensibility till the i2tli of October, 
when, at nine o'clock in the morning, surrounded by his family, 
he gave up his magnanimous soul to his Creator. He died in the 
sixty-fourth year of his age. 

The grief in the South was universal. Everywhere the despatch 
announcing the death of the great Virginian fell on thousands 
of hearts like a funeral knell. The dismal sound of bells, the 
Virginian flag half-mast high, the mournful assemblies of citizens 
crowding the churches to celebrate a funeral service in honour of 
the departed hero, the addresses to his family, all testified the pro- 
found feeling which animated the South in view of this great loss. 
The legislature of Virginia adjourned. It was desired to give to 
the illustrious deceased a public funeral, and bury him at Richmond. 
But his friends preferred to keep him near them. He rests in the 
College Chapel. In accordance with his wish, there was no 
funeral oration over his tomb; the ceremony was limited to 
the reading of the magnificent Burial Service of the Church of 

There, in the beautiful Valley of Virginia, sleeps this great 
victim of the most terrible civil war of modem times. 

The heart becomes a prey to profound sadness, while observing 
that so beautiful an existence but furnishes another example of 
that fatal law which, between two causes equally justifiable, gives 
the triumph to that which is able to dispose of the most money 
and to sacrifice the greatest number of lives without enfeebling 

But before this mystery let us bow our heads, as one more to 
be added to those inexplicable things which surround us. The 
Creator, in His impenetrable wisdom, has ordained that nothing 
here below shall be perfect ; and, inasmuch as those great men 
whom He lends us for our edification accept, without a murmur, 
defeat and humiliation as the crown of their life, let us, in our turn, 
be resigned, and not seek to fathom the unfathomable. 

Did not Lee himself write : " I bow with resignation before the 


will of Almighty God, whose ommscience cannot be deceived, 
whose infinite tenderness cannot desire our injury, and who knows, 
not only the trials that are good for us, but also the moment when 
it is best for us to undergo them " ? 






a HtBt of Boofts 

ADVBRTIBIKa, A HISTORT OF, from the Earlies' 
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sand Keys. Three 


, Ko.p. 


compared^ jn point of en 

ting. and. Ilal 
^ber of tttisagr 

id- It aflbrdsauniple. 

browa a flood of liEht upon the 
be lime of the Anglo-Saions d< 

Dmnler of bistorr, CDpvTnf- froi 
le ^pie of bat at live Hundicd 
"life not oft™ fli 

inners, iubrcs, and Aports of 
to (berHgn of Charles iheS 

if idle tradilians and ingeaiDI 
anolher, bai nicceedcd^in ti 

coBd. And lastly, 
i ablei, »«ch one 
nnnittiaB; Ihrough 

I. But he deei it with 
ming— aiflit them to taei 
partakeihe hopes and fe^i 

i those to which Dr. Meyrick 
ill the eaK and RracefiiliHiui 
n and the impetuous kuEbH 
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& &BlIne<, exdie 


IS Enelisb liDguage. i..-, — . — 
It dedamations of Burke smk mto 
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Duenna), the best £arce (the Critic), and the best address (Monologue on Garrick) ; 

and, to crown all, delivered the very best oration (the famous Begum Speech) ever 

conceived or heard in this coimtry." — Byron. 

"The editor has brought together within a manageable compass not only the 
seven plays by which Sheridan is best known, but a coUection also of his poetical 
pioces which are less familiar to the public, sketches of unfinished dramas, selections 
from his reported witticisms, and extracts from his principal speeches. To these is 
prefixed a snort but well-written memoir, givinjgf the chief facts m Sheridan's literary 
and political career ; so that with this volume in his hand, the student may consider 
himself toleraUy well furnished with all that is necessary for a general compre- 
hension of the subject of it*'*— Pail Mali Gazette, 



With Anecdotes of Fan 



*'Eveaif we«en«ver aa maliciouilf iacluud, 4e could not (qck out all Mssrs. 
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